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Absenteeism among nurses is costly and negatively affects client care making absenteeism management an important issue for hospital managers. The purpose of this review was to identify predictors of work absence among hospital nurses. Authors searched relevant databases between the years 1986 and 2006 for articles investigating nurse absenteeism in acute care settings in hospitals, and found 14 studies that met their inclusion criteria. Methodological quality assessment was used but not integrated with study results. They found that that prior attendance records were the greatest predictor of work absence, accounting for half of the absences. Other factors included organizational concerns such as leadership quality, high turnover, overstaffing and work unit separation, as well as individual experiences of burnout and job stress, while job satisfaction and involvement, decision latitude, managerial influence and personnel resources predicted a reduced risk of unplanned, short-term absences. Authors concluded that further research is needed to provide adequate evidence to guide policy, but that organizations should consider ways to improve the work environment and decrease burnout and job stress.

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