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

  1. 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?
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   DusktilDawn
    I think it's an attitude that develops because of staffing issues. Most places do not staff in anticipation of sick calls. You wind up with some who come in ill when they should be at home, out of a skewed sense of loyalty. Others may only be venting out of the frustration of working short staffed.
  4. by   texas_lvn
    When I first got out of school as a GVN, I went to a nursing home that treated their residents like kings and queens. They treated staff like crap. If you call in sick, you have to find your own replacement. If you do not find a replacement, you must come in. When I applied for the job, I told them I needed this day off for GRADUATION. I was told no problem. DON's changed, no replacement was found, and I was called 2 hours before the shift to see if I was coming in. Uhhh, NO. Needless to say, I do not work there anymore.
  5. by   smilin_gp
    At one place where I previously worked as an aide, we had two people who tended to call in regularly after a hectic day, nice weather saturdays, uthings like that. There was quite a bit more grumbling when one of these people called in sick than when someone else without the predictable sick call schedule called in. It just got very frustrating to the rest of the staff, and these were also the last two people to ever cover an extra shift for a coworker. Fortunately, most people that I have worked with are more conscientous about their sick calls, but this seemed ridiculous.
  6. by   HM2VikingRN
    Quote from texas_lvn
    When I first got out of school as a GVN, I went to a nursing home that treated their residents like kings and queens. They treated staff like crap. If you call in sick, you have to find your own replacement. If you do not find a replacement, you must come in. When I applied for the job, I told them I needed this day off for GRADUATION. I was told no problem. DON's changed, no replacement was found, and I was called 2 hours before the shift to see if I was coming in. Uhhh, NO. Needless to say, I do not work there anymore.
    Its managements responsibility to manage. This means adequate staffing AND assigning work.
  7. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Maybe if those people hadn't come in to work sick and stayed home like they were suppossed to, the rest of the staff wouldn't have to call in sick. They could have kept their germs to themselves @ home instead of spreading them through work like wildfire in order to be a martyr.
  8. by   StNeotser
    Last May I had to take two days off work because I caught norovirus. This was after a week or so of taking care of people where at any one time six patients had the virus at once with no extra staffing. The stuff was everywhere.

    I was required to take 72 hours off after I caught it, due to my schedule it meant two days of calling in.

    Because I had called in once in that month before I have now been written up and put on a warning for taking excessive sick leave. I have had three days off sick in the past year.

    I had no idea our facility had this "policy" until last week when I got the write up. Funnily enough my evaluation comes at the end of the month.
  9. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from smilin_gp
    At one place where I previously worked as an aide, we had two people who tended to call in regularly after a hectic day, nice weather saturdays, uthings like that. There was quite a bit more grumbling when one of these people called in sick than when someone else without the predictable sick call schedule called in. It just got very frustrating to the rest of the staff, and these were also the last two people to ever cover an extra shift for a coworker. Fortunately, most people that I have worked with are more conscientous about their sick calls, but this seemed ridiculous.
    I get what your saying about those that you can practically predict when they will call in sick, worked with some of those too. The problem I've always found is that management does not want to deal with the abusers of sick time. Most of the grumblings I've heard in regard to sick calls tend to fall into 2 categories:
    1. The predictable ones who abuse sick days, and the fact that nothing seems to be done about it.
    2. Being short-staffed because of sick days, especially if more than one person calls in sick, and these complaints tend not to be towards the person that's ill but more towards the situation it leaves the unit in.
  10. by   TazziRN
    "Too sick" is sick enough that you can't function. That level is different for different people. I have no problem with people calling in sick for what I would perceive to be a minor problem, but I have a problem with people who call in sick on a regular basis for seemingly simple things.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    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.
    Apparently the people that think that sick people are being selfish are completely oblivious to the fact that they're sounding like the sick people DELIBERATELY got sick just to peeze off others. Which, um, also sounds self-centered.
  12. by   SportyNurse
    If I just don't feel good, but I could still handle going to the mall, I go in to work. The times I don't go is when I'm obviously sick and hacking and sneezing all over. I choose to stay home when I've got something that isn't going to be easily kept away from my patients.
  13. by   Medic/Nurse
    If you are SICK. Stay home. I am exposed to enough germs and you aren't gonna be worth a salt anyway.

    If you are calling in sick because you couldn't get your shift covered on Friday and want to get an early start on that BEACH WEEKEND, you should get your justice for that! :angryfire:

    I worked the first night I fractured my scapula (couldn't abduct too well), but as the week wore on and I wore down, I was OUT for 12.

    If I am contagious, unable to stand, or found myself either -
    1. Sitting on toilet with a pail
    2. Lying on BR floor
    3. Unable to tolerate sound, light
    I have been known to call out. Only 3 times in 7 years, except for the scapula thing.

    The KEY --- DO NOT WAIT TILL THE MINIMUM OF 2 HOURS AS REQUIRED BY MOST POLICIES!

    CALL OUT EARLY IF NEED BE....THIS WILL ALLOW AN ATTEMPT AT COVERAGE TO BE MADE!
  14. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from dusktildawn
    i get what your saying about those that you can practically predict when they will call in sick, worked with some of those too. the problem i've always found is that management does not want to deal with the abusers of sick time. most of the grumblings i've heard in regard to sick calls tend to fall into 2 categories:
    1. the predictable ones who abuse sick days, and the fact that nothing seems to be done about it.
    2. being short-staffed because of sick days, especially if more than one person calls in sick, and these complaints tend not to be towards the person that's ill but more towards the situation it leaves the unit in.
    [font="comic sans ms"]i've worked with notorious callers-in-sick. at my last job, they got promoted despite it! it rather made it laughable when they, as assistant managers, either complained when someone called in sick or attempted to counsel someone about excessive use of sick time! when i called in sick for pneumonia once, one of those folks gave me a hard time about it. that said, dusktildawn is right -- with the addition that those folks in category 1 are usually the ones who also complain about other folks calling in sick.

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