Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Impact of school closings on hospital staff absenteeism: A case study

Nathan Timm, MD, Jacqueline Grupp-Phelan, MD, MPH, Joseph S. Kroner, MSN, RN


Objective: Determine the impact school closings during snow emergencies have on hospital nursing absenteeism.
Design: Retrospective case-control study.
Setting: Large urban tertiary-care children’s hospital.
Participants: Inpatient nursing staff.
Main outcomes measured: Absenteeism rates due to lack of child care during snow emergency dates.
Results: There is a statistically significant difference between nursing absenteeism due school closings compared with control dates (p = 0.01); however, the overall impact on hospital nursing staff availability is minimal (0.4 percent).
Conclusions: Short-term school closings during snow emergencies do not result in significant rates of nursing absenteeism due to lack of child care.


nursing, absenteeism, schools

Full Text:


References Federal, State and Local Government Planning and Response Activities. Available at Accessed March 27, 2007.

Carrat F, Luong J, Lao H, et al.: A “small-world-like” model for comparing interventions aimed at preventing and controlling influenza pandemics. Available at BMC Med. 2006; 4(26).

Holmberg SD, Layton CM, Ghneim GS, et al.: State plans for containment of pandemic influenza. Emerg Infect Dis. 2006; 12(9): 1414-1417.

McNeil Jr D: Closings and cancellations top advice on flu outbreak. The New York Times. Feb 2, 2007.

Cone DC, Cummings BA: Hospital disaster staffing: If you call, will they come? Am J Disaster Med. 2006; 1(1): 28-35.

Klein K, Rosenthal M, Klausner H: Blackout 2003: Preparedness and lessons Learned from the perspectives of four hospitals. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2005; 20(5): 343-349.

Buttross S: Responding creatively to family needs of hospital staff: Caring for children of caretakers during a disaster. Pediatrics. 2006; 117(5): S446-S447.

Friedman D: Employer supports for parents with young children. Future Child. 2001; 11(1): 62-77.

Herman R, Koppa D, Sullivan P: Sick-child daycare promotes healing and staffing. Nurs Manage. 1999; 30(4): 46-47.

LoJacona S: Mildly ill/backup child care: A benefit for employees and employers. Empl Benefits J. 2000; 25(4): 48-51.

Miller D, Norton V: Absenteeism. Nursing service’s albatross. J Nurs Adm. 1986; 16(3): 38-42.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Emergency Management