"I Come Into Work Sick! Why Can't You?" - page 3

The quote I used for this thread is a paraphrase of something that I've heard many times at work. The people who say this are usually angry that a nurse or CNA called out sick, thereby leaving the... Read More

  1. by   SaraO'Hara
    I feel bad because I've missed a few days work due to a rash, especially because I've only been working since late May - but what can I do? I don't want to leave my co-workers in the lurch, but I don't want to get somebody else sick.
  2. by   glasgow3
    Unfortunately this issue is one of many common disatisfiers in nursing. I'm old enough to remember when sick time, vacation time and holidays were most often accounted for individually rather than as a combined Paid Time Off. The combined PTO was always "sold" to the employees as "your time to do with as you pleased" "if you don't need the time to cover personal or family illness then you can use the extra time for vacation etc etc".

    But in practice as other posters have noted at many facilities obtaining permission to actually USE that time can be problematic. So they access that time the only way they can: by calling in sick.

    Management often feels that they can identify patterns of abuse. They point out that an employee calls out on weekends or the day before a weekend or the day after------well yes that may be true, but those supposed high abuse days when combined make up the majority of the week. Reminds me of the old joke in HR where the Manager "discovered" that his M-F office staff's call-ins occured 40% of the time on the day before or after a weekend and this "abuse" would have to stop.

    Of course, the attempts at countercontrol never end. For example, at my facility, if you call in on a weekend, physician validated illness or not, you must make up the missed days on the following weekend. And missing 3 consecutive days of work at any time requires a physician's note before you can return to work. And you can have only 3 episodes of illness within a "rolling" calendar year. Now tell me another profession with similarly onerous sick time policies.

    Obviously call-ins may have an adverse effect upon staffing----but they needn't. That is what float pools, agencies and incentives are for: to adequately staff for those times when regular employees are using the paid time off benefits they have earned/accrued (and for unusual spikes in patient census). Short staffing should NOT be an option.

    And working 8 hours when not feeling well is challenging enough. But many of us have no option to 12 hour shifts these days. We're expected to be customer oriented and to perform flawlessly.

    The expectation that we as nurses should work even when we are ill is insane, yet all too common.
  3. by   HM2VikingRN
    40% of your scheduled work days fall next to your weekend. (Assuming a 5 day work week):chuckle
  4. by   Sheri257
    I worked sick for a month because students who were expected to work as aides in addition to externships were being written up for calling out sick on their aide days but, conveniently, they weren't calling out sick on their extern days.

    Then I ended up getting written up anyway by night shift for one day when they gave me an impossible patient load so ... I quit. Even though I was very tempted to call out on my last aide day, I didn't.

    Nevertheless, it took me three months to get paid .... luckily I copied my time card but I still had to send three letters before I got paid. If I hadn't thought to copy my time card, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been paid.

    Obviously it wasn't worth working sick. They didn't appreciate it ... at all.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Aug 19, '06
  5. by   guardwife
    I remember getting so sick during my first year as a RN on a Pulmonary Care Unit. Luckily I worked 12 hr shifts and had enough days to get on my feet. The only one time that I called in sick in 14 months, I called in 8 hrs before my shift was going to start after spending the night in the bathroom. I got a call one hour from the charge nurse before my shift to see if I was "really sick". I was steamed !!
  6. by   natrgrrl
    Does being too depressed to come to work count as being sick? A friend of mine was a walking zombie 99% of the time but she still went to work. I don't know how she could do her job. I know she took unnecessary risks.
  7. by   truern
    Coincidentally I just missed two days this week after catching some bug. I worked the first day feeling like something the dog threw up, but just could not make it to work the last two days. My NM couldn't have been nicer!! She asked me how was I feeling several times the day I came back and explained that my immune system would get stronger over time. EVERYBODY was nothing but concerned for me.

    The more I read here the more convinced I am I've found a job in heaven
  8. by   Schatzi RN CEN
    We ask visitors to not see our patients when they themselves are feeling ill. We as nurses are usually in much closer contact to the patients and should not expose them to our illnesses in addition to what is wrong with the patient in the first place.
    I agree that sick time is often abused, but one of the hospitals I work for has an attendance requirement as one of the points of the annual evaluation (along with meeting personal goals, chart audits, mandatory education and absence of disciplinary action). An employee can miss one of the categories and still be an "A" employee, but if striving to be a valued employee, this should make them keep unnecessary sick time to a minimum.
  9. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from Thanet
    I live and work in England and to some extent it is different here.

    As a senior staff nurse I have sent people home as I considered them too sick to be at work, they would have been putting my patients at risk catching their condition.

    Also if you go into work sick and something goes wrong BECAUSE you are sick there is no come back for you. I thought that in the US that would be a sueable offence.
    Sick time is totally different in England though. You can take a sick day whenever you need it and you aren't "assigned" a set number of days that you can use for sick or holidays. Over here you can get a measly 14 days a year to use for that which is rubbish compared to the UK. In England if I felt unwell I'd just take a day off and no one ever said a word about it. You just got covered by agency or bank. Over here take a sick day and you're thought of as a slacker. The more time off you have (i.e.: the sicker you are) the less likely they will let you come back to work without a myriad of tests and ridiculous paperwork.

    I hurt my back at work in March. I was unable to even get off the couch and it was an ordeal just to get to the bathroom...there was no way I could work as I couldn't even walk. I was off sick for a month and I even attended my own hospital as a patient as I naively thought they would be able to see how geunine my injury was. I saw 5 different doctors and had physical therapy, all at my own hospital. I was refused Worker's Comp and my insurance company refused to pay for an MRI which I ended up having as an emergency in the ER. When I tried to come back to work I asked the Employee Health doctor to let me come back light duty, and he told me they wouldn't let me come back light duty as I wasn't fully able to function. I could work and do my job but I didn't feel like I could lift or push beds yet. I had to pretend I was fine to let them let me come back to work. I had kept my boss informed of every doctors appointment and all progress but she would never return my calls. Then two weeks after I returned I was fired from my position on a bunch of BS unsubstantiated charges. Then they had the cheek to send me a bill for my MRI scan as they said it wasn't urgent after all, despite the fact I had symptoms that indicated nerve damage.

    It was a nasty experience, and thankfully I have another job now, but I long for the days in England when I could call in sick if I needed to and know my job was secure. Sick time in the USA sucks. I wish you could all experience what it's like in other countries, and you'd never stand for this kind of treatment anymore.
  10. by   JinJerEvansRN
    I believe that you should take a sick day if you need it, no problem. Some of the coworkers I have continually call in, and everyone knows that they can't be sick.

    I used to work as a Supervisor for a very big company, (not anything to do with nursing), and if you called in sick and were out of sick time, I had to call the person and tell them they had to come in or be written up. That was the policy.

    I would like to see facilities give back to the employees who don't abuse sick time. I think it would be great to give the employees a check for at least some of the sick time they did not use at the end of the year, you know before Christmas, as an incentive to not call in when you just don't feel like going to work.

    I also think that management should deal with the ones that are frequently calling in no matter what. It is ridiculous to just let them slide! My facility lets a lot slide, but I still love working there.
  11. by   banditrn
    I used to get fed-up with a couple of them that would come in sick - and that's all you heard about all shift!! They'd refuse to go in this room or that, or to do certain things - because they were 'sick'. They'd take their temps ever so often, then give us an update on how lousy they felt. But then would brag that they hadn't called in sick.

    The problem would be, then, that they'd pass whatever bug they had to everyone else!
  12. by   Agnus
    Quote from Tommybabe
    The quote I used for this thread is a paraphrase of something that I've heard many times at work. The people who say this are usually angry that a nurse or CNA called out sick, thereby leaving the job short staffed. They often say that they have come to work with a migraine, fever, or flu, for example, so how dare a nurse/CNA call out for something "minor," like a headache or stomach pains. One coworker even said that by agreeing to work in the nursing field, you should know that work will often be short staffed if you call out sick, so CNAs should stop being "wimpy" and "selfish" and come into work sick. I have also seen many coworkers who are nurses and CNAs at work with an obvious illness, such as nonstop coughing, sneezing, and some who have admitted to having a fever. I don't think it is good for the patients to have someone who is ill working around them, nor do I think that a sick employee should be made to feel guilty for calling in sick. Therefore, I was wondering: is this attitude about coming into or calling out of work sick common where any of you work? Also, exactly how sick is "too sick" to come into work?
    Uh, 'cause I am inconsiderate and only care about myself. I am about as terrible a person as you could meet. I am really terrible. I really only wanted free vacation time at your expense.

    Really such an ignorant question (not ignorant of you but of the person who asks this) has no answer. So I might be tempted to aswer like this.

    Really, this dumbfounds the person on the other end. Sometimes so much they stop their attack after the first sentence you deliver in this vein. Othertimes you may need to persist a bit. These answers are obserd and they serve to point out the obserdity of the question. Also, you are agreeing with the other person about your charcter. That is you are inconsiderate, terrible etc. It is pretty hard to argue with someone who is agreeing with you.

    It works best if you can avoid all traces of sarcasm.

    So agree with them your are a jerk. Infact if you infact know what is comming (please be sure you do) you can jump the gun and start the self attack before they can. If they are going to attack you anyway might as well. It also discourages future attacks. These attacks are designed to manipulate and control you. If they find you can not be manipulated and guilted into working they will eventually give up. They may not like you but then if you are refusing to work sick and feel you should work they it seems safe to say you already are not on thier most popular list anyway.
  13. by   kittagirl
    First hi all have been dipping in to read here for a while but never felt brave enough to contribute till now.
    There is a similar attitude in the NHS, the “oh I’m soooo ill but I came in” “remember the time I spent x-hours in the WC but I still came in” attitude.

    I can’t stand it, I’d rather be one down than be expected to listen to someone tell me how brave they are to have come in. If you come to work be fit enough to work is my attitude. Personally I’m off at the minute, which is why I’m logging at 01:00 my time.

    Of course we are lucky enough to get paid sick leave, though they are clamping down on that now. (Fortunately for me I have a GP who’s attitude is we’re all in this together and if I need a sick cert his attitude is I am a fellow health professional and I know when I need time off.)

    Recently on a very short week I went in coughing/ sneezing /snuffling, summer colds are a pain and a patient request that I not care for her. Can’t blame her really, would you want some one in that condition serving your food? No, so dressing your Hickman line………………..REALLY NO

    Quick silly question, I get the impression (possibly wrong) that you get a set number of paid days off, be that holiday or sick it doesn’t matter, is that right?

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