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BACKGROUND: Presenteeism is the employee behaviour of physically attending work with reduced performance due to illness or for other reasons. Nurses are four times more likely to exhibit presenteeism compared to other occupations, threatening patient safety through increased patient falls, medication errors and staff-to-patient disease transmission. There is a paucity of standardized instruments that quantify the association between presenteeism with its exposures and related productivity. This study aims to validate an instrument that comprehensively measures presenteeism workplace and personal exposures specifically for Asian nurses. METHODS: Questionnaire domain items were selected based on the JD-R framework and a previously conducted systematic review of pre-existing validated scales measuring work attendance exposures used in previous healthcare studies. The preliminary questionnaire consisted of two outcomes (presenteeism frequency, productivity) and five exposure domains: work resources, work demands, work stress, work engagement, personal traits and health. Content validation and back translation (English-Cantonese Chinese-English) were carried out. Responses from full-time nurses working in two acute care hospitals (Preliminary questionnaire at Hospital 1: N = 295 and main round questionnaire at Hospital 2: N = 1146) were included in the validation study to ensure an adequate sample size of ten cases per indicator variable for CFA analysis. A random sample of 80 nurses from Hospital 1 were selected for test-retest reliability 4 weeks post the initial survey. Internal consistency, convergent and discriminant validity tests were also tested. RESULTS: Satisfactory internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha > 0.7), test-retest reliability (ICC > 0.4); and construct validity - convergent and discriminant validity was achieved. Confirmatory factor analysis yielded satisfactory fitness indices (CFI and TLI > 0.95, RMSEA < 0.08). Presenteeism and productivity significantly associated with all work resources, work engagement and work stress constructs in Hospital 2. CONCLUSION: A reliable Multidimensional Presenteeism Exposures and Productivity Survey (MPEPS-N) has been validated in two distinct hospital environments. The instrument helps to identify and quantify organizational or individual exposures that significantly associate with presenteeism and its related productivity, thus allowing hospital managers to set evidence-based intervention targets for wellness programs and formulate human resource policies in reducing presenteeism-related productivity loss.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Human resource management, Job demands and resources, Nurse, Presenteeism, Productivity, Work engagement, Work stress, Efficiency, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Health Surveys, Humans, Nursing Staff, Hospital, Occupational Health, Patient Safety, Presenteeism, Workplace