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Healthcare professional presenteeism during a COVID-19 outbreak in an Australian rural healthcare environment: A case analysis


Tori, K and Dinh, TTH and Mather, C, Healthcare professional presenteeism during a COVID-19 outbreak in an Australian rural healthcare environment: A case analysis, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, (16) pp. 1-9. ISSN 1661-7827 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright: 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijerph18168336


The recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural Australia is well documented. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the precariousness of human healthcare resources within small rural communities. The external disaster of the COVID-19 outbreak described in this case analysis exacerbated the frail balance of sustaining adequate staffing levels and skill mix, which exposed behaviours of presenteeism within rural healthcare teams. An analysis of the complex of factors that led to the first nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19 within a healthcare environment in Australia demonstrates how rural healthcare environments are ill-equipped to meet the demands of unexpected external disasters. Using the Haddon Matrix to examine the factors that led to this outbreak provides us with the opportunity to learn from the case analysis. Health professional presenteeism contributed to the North West Tasmania COVID-19 outbreak and affected the hospital and health service provision within the region. Recommendations to mitigate risk for future disaster planning in rural healthcare environments include improved infection control strategies and a whole-community approach.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:presenteeism, health, rural, workforce, recruitment, retention, community
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Rural and remote health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Rural and remote area health
UTAS Author:Tori, K (Associate Professor Kathleen Tori)
UTAS Author:Dinh, TTH (Dr Thi Thuy Ha Dinh)
UTAS Author:Mather, C (Dr Carey Mather)
ID Code:145834
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2021-08-06
Last Modified:2021-10-20
Downloads:13 View Download Statistics

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