Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza in Australia: Absenteeism and redeployment of emergency medicine and nursing staff

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Title Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza in Australia: Absenteeism and redeployment of emergency medicine and nursing staff
Author Considine, Julie; Shaban, Ramon Zenel; Patrick, Jennifer; Holzhauser, Kerri; Aitken, Peter; Clark, MIchele; Fielding, Elaine; FitzGerald, Gerard J
Journal Name Emergency Medicine Australasia
Editor Anthony F. T. Brown
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Abstract Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine the impact of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza on the Australian emergency nursing and medicine workforce, specifically absenteeism and deployment. Methods: Data were collected using an online survey of 618 members of the three professional emergency medicine or emergency nursing colleges. Results: Despite significant increases in emergency demand during the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza, 56.6% of emergency nursing and medicine staff reported absenteeism of at least 1 day and only 8.5% of staff were redeployed. Staff illness with influenza-like illness was reported by 37% of respondents, and 87% of respondents who became ill were not tested for the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza. Of the respondents who became ill, 43% (n= 79) reported missing no days of work and only 8% of respondents (n= 14) reported being absent for more than 5 days. The mean number of days away from work was 3.73 (standard deviation = 3.63). Factors anecdotally associated with staff absenteeism (caregiver responsibilities, concern about personal illness, concern about exposing family members to illness, school closures, risk of quarantine, stress and increased workload) appeared to be of little or no relevance. Redeployment was reported by 8% of respondents and the majority of redeployment was for operational reasons. Conclusion: Future research related to absenteeism, redeployment during actual pandemic events is urgently needed. Workforce data collection should be an integral part of organizational pandemic planning.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-6723.2011.01461.x
Volume 23
Issue Number 5
Page from 615
Page to 623
ISSN 1742-6731
Date Accessioned 2011-11-17
Date Available 2012-02-10T01:42:34Z
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Health Institute; Centre for Health Practice Innovation
Faculty Griffith Health Faculty
Subject Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/42147
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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