Learning for life: sickness absence

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to help
you to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will also
help you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understand
and what you need to explore further.

1. What may make a positive contribution to the reduction of costs
related to sickness absence?

a) Expansion
b) Contraction
c) Resizing
d) Downsizing

2. What may result with the employment of temporary staff?

a) Redundancy
b) High levels of attendance
c) Elevated accidents levels
d) Reduced staffing levels

3. Mismanagement of non-attendance could result in

a) Reduced staffing levels
b) Fatigue and stress
c) Redundancy
d) Organisational change

4. Knowing the extent of the problem by maintaining sickness absence
statistics is the foundation of

a) Attendance management
b) HR management
c) Personnel management
d) Occupational health management

5. What is essential in identifying attendance patterns?

a) Pre-employment screening
b) Medical examination
c) Accurate record keeping
d) Maintaining OH records

6. What absence data is needed for attendance?

a) Causes
b) Frequency and duration
c) Causes and frequency
d) Cause and duration

7. The Bradford Factor is calculated by

a) Multiplying the number of days lost from work by the square of the number
of non-attendances
b) Multiplying the number of non-attendances by the square of the number of
days lost
c) Multiplying the number of days lost from work by the number of
d) Multiplying the square of the number of days lost from work by the square of
the number of non-attendances

8. Dismissal due to sickness absence would be considered fair if the

a) Has long-term sickness absence
b) Reports the sickness absence immediately to the employer
c) Claims reasonable adjustments have been made to the workplace
d) Has an unacceptable level of repeated short-term sickness absence

9. If the management of attendance is to be managed fairly and
consistently what is essential?

a) Trade union recognition
b) Counselling training
c) A meeting
d) A policy

10. With regard to sickness absence what can the OHN advise on?

a. Work-related health conditions and sick pay entitlement
b. Health conditions, hazards and sick pay
c. Work-related health conditions, hazards and control measures
d. Medical conditions, hazards and control measures


Are you up-to-date on employment legislation, fair and unfair dismissal and
redundancy legislation? Refresh your knowledge – details of all this
legislation can be downloaded from the DTI website on
www.dti.gov.uk/er/regs.htm. 2c) Refresh your knowledge on the causes of
accidents, consider your own company’s accident statistics and see if there are
any trends or patterns that need to be investigated further. 3b) Review
the causes of workplace stress. 4a); 5c) Accurate record keeping is an
important part of nursing as well as management. Discuss with your clinical
supervisor or respected colleague the importance of record keeping to your
particular job. Check the UKCC guidelines for records and record keeping
(1998).6b); 7a); 8d); 9d) According to the study undertaken by Norwich
Union (Occupational Health, Nov 2001) 95 per cent of firms surveyed had
policies in place for managing absence but only 3.6 per cent believed their
policies had a major impact on absence levels! 10c) Take this
opportunity to read the NMC Code of Professional Conduct that you received
recently. If you have not received information from the new body then contact
it – www.nmc-uk.org or 020-7637 7181.

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