University of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Presenteeism: Reflections for health profession placement-based work integrated learning

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 20:49 authored by Kathleen ToriKathleen Tori, Carey MatherCarey Mather

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the precariousness of learning and teaching activities for the health-related professions. Moving from placement-based work integrated learning (WIL) activities to online blended delivery meant that some students have had altered opportunities to undertake usual placement activities. Further, the need to ensure that health profession students and graduates understand and respect the challenges of practicing within rural and remote health facilities, where staff often work across multiple facilities, has posed a need to address the relatively little understood phenomenon of ‘presenteeism’ (Melick, 2020). Presenteeism, a behaviour in which employees, including students, attend practice, or campus learning activities, while unwell, poses risk to employees and others with whom they may have close contact. Presenteeism was identified as a significant contributor to the nosocomial spread of COVID-19 within the healthcare facilities of the North-West region of Tasmania, early in the pandemic (Tasmanian Government, 2020). Much of the disease transmission was attributed to the movement of staff within, and between healthcare environments. While the practice of presenteeism is frequently observed within the healthcare sector, the consequences of this behaviour during a pandemic can, and did, have dire consequences for staff, recipients of care, students, and the local community.

To enable comprehension of the contributing factors to the spread of COVID-19 in the North-West region, the Hadden Matrix (Runyan, 2015) was applied, and can be used to reflect on, and prepare future learning and teaching requirements for health profession students in the ‘new normal’ of healthcare service delivery.


Publication title

Teaching Matters 2021


School of Nursing

Event title

Teaching Matters 2021

Event Venue


Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Social structure and health; Nursing

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager