Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Relationship between inpatient satisfaction and nurse absenteeism: an exploratory study using WHO-PATH performance indicators in France

Leila Moret1*, Emmanuelle Anthoine1, Cécile Paillé1, Sophie Tricaud-Vialle2, Laurent Gerbaud3, Alexandra Giraud-Roufast3, Philippe Michel3 and Pierre Lombrail1

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health Department--PIMESP, University Hospital of Nantes, Hospital Saint-Jacques 85, rue Saint-Jacques, 44093 Nantes cedex, France

2 Bordeaux University Hospital, Comité de Coordination de l'Evaluation Clinique et de la Qualité en Aquitaine (CCECQA), Pessac, France

3 Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, Groupe régional d'évaluation en Auvergne (GREQUAU), Clermont-Ferrand, France

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:83  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-83

Published: 31 January 2012



Indicators describing results of care are widely explored in term of patient satisfaction (PS). Among factors explaining PS, human resources indicators have been studied in terms of burnout or job satisfaction among healthcare professionals. No research work has set out to explore the effect of absenteeism on PS scores. The objective of this study was to explore interaction between rate of absenteeism among nurses and PS results.


France has taken part in a project named PATH (Performance Assessment Tool for Hospitals) of the World Health Organization, aiming to develop a tool for the assessment of hospital performance. In the first semester 2008, 25 volunteering short-stay hospitals (teaching, general and private) provide complete data on nurse short-absenteeism (periods of up to 7 consecutive days of sick leave) and on PS (a cross-sectional postal survey using a standardized validated French-language scale EQS-H exploring "quality of medical information" (MI) and "relationships with staff and daily routine" (RS)). A multi-level model was used to take into account of the hierarchical nature of the data.


Two thousand and sixty-five patients responded to the satisfaction questionnaire (participation rate: 40.9%). The mean age of respondents was 58 yrs (± 19), 41% were men. The mean duration of hospitalisation was 7.5 days (± 11.1). The mean absenteeism rate for nurses was 0.24% (± 0.14).

All the PS scores were significantly and negatively correlated with rate of short-absenteeism among nurses (MI score: ρ = -0.55, p < 0.01), RS score ρ = -0.47, p = 0.02). The mixed model found a significant relationship between rate of absenteeism among nurses and PS scores (MI: p = 0.027; RS: p = 0.017).


Results obtained in this study show that short-term absenteeism among nurses seems to be significantly and negatively correlated with PS. Our findings are an invitation to deepen our understanding of the impact of human resources on PS and to develop more specific projects.