Anyone have a nursing supervisor require you to work while sick?Register Today!
- by NurseJennDenn Sep 13, '09I got a case of bronchitis in June. I missed 2 days of work, was easily covered, and had a doctors note. Our hospital's policy clearly states we are not allowed to work if our temp. is over 100.5, we've had n/v, and are generally ill. We are required to have a doctors note to come back to work. The day I came back to work and handed in my note, my supervisor called me to her office and told me a doctor's note was unacceptable and wrote me up for missing two days of work. I was floored! Nurses with more tenure had recently missed several weeks of work and there were no issues.
On July 3rd, the bronchitis got so bad it led into pneumonia and I ended up being a patient in the ICU. I was released a week later and was told to come back to work 5 days after being so sick (I also was anemic and received 2 units PRBC's). My doctor had not authorized me to go back to work, however, because of the earlier circumstance of being told a doctors note was unacceptable, I went to work. I had 18 patients that night, felt horrible, and it's a miracle I did not make a med error. As a result I was a bit slower than normal because I was triple checking each med and had 4 tube feeders and several patients with close to 20 meds a piece.
That evening I had a patient refuse no less than 5 times her meds. Two were narcotics and she was not in pain. The other was a BP med and her BP was within normal limits. The other was gabapentin for neuropathy. She denied any pain or discomfort and therefore I did not bother her again until 5 a.m. when she had a narcotic due. She then freaked out on me because she had not taken her narcs all night (although she denied pain and was constantly sleeping). She went to my supervisor and complained that I was "making the decision to withhold her meds. My super called me to her office the next day and reamed me out. I pointed out that first of all our philosophy is our residents have the right to refuse their medication after the nurse gives them an informed reasoning for taking the meds. My super refused to believe me and filed a grievance against me with the board of nursing. Needless to say, I resigned my position. I will point out that in the MAR many nurses had notated on most evenings this patients refusal of her evening meds.
I went through an interview with the board of nursing and they felt I handled the situation appropriately and did all I could to get this resident to take her meds. There was evidence that I did her Medicare assessment. In addition I gave out meds to 17 other patients. Why would I single this patient out???? The board of nursing actually is disciplining my supervisor for requiring me to come back to work without a doctors release. In addition, I was told that I should NEVER work while sick. I knew this but my job was threatened. The board was great and said that I had been put in a difficult position but to call in if ill. It's easier to find a new job than it is to get my license back
Sorry for the novel but this whole situation ****** me off. Has anyone had a similiar situation? Could I have done anything differently? I'd LOVE some advice for my new job!
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- Sep 13, '09 by TiffyRNI've never heard of a supervisor requiring someone who has recently been hospitalized to come back without doctor's clearance. Sounds outrageous and apparently the Board agreed. I can't believe you got referred to the Board but am so pleased to hear that they cleared you AND went after your (former) supervisor. I wish you well in your further nursing career, but I doubt you will encounter such unreasonable behavior.
Let us all remember that in this upcoming season of swine flu, the government itself is encouraging employees to not go to work with fever & URI symptoms for the good of the nation. I predict this will wind up challenging some attendance policies currently in place, at least until this current pandemic eases.
But to answer your initial question, I have NEVER been required to work if I call out sick, and never had a doctor's note rejected. Our unit doesn't allow visitors if they have temp >100.0, so they certainly can't have staff that is exposed to the patients many more hours with a fever.
- Sep 13, '09 by LacieMany of times over my years as a nurse have I had to report to work in worse condition then most my patients unfortunately. Most recent was at the beginning of this year I had a temp of 101.0 and a massive migraine on top of it. I was also the DON and the only RN on the schedule for that entire week. I tried several times to contact my administrator to call off as they would have had to send an RN from our sister unit 2hours away to cover me for the day and it was on top of everything a Saturday ( I had no other full-time RN but only 1 per-diem who was never to be found unless she was scheduled). This was in Chronic Dialysis and guess what not only did she not answer her phone but never returned my call anyway!! I had no choice but to go in or close the entire clinic down for the day turning patients in need away. This would have meant the pts scheduled for thier treatment would have gone from thier last treatment on Thurs till Tues without dialysis. Something that just cant be done. For once the only LPN who was per-diem and never works weekends was scheduled this one Saturday. If not for her I would have been in a real quandry. Literally I had to pull a stretcher in my office and stay unless there was an emergency. Sad but this is the way it is many instances in our profession. I found most of the time administration doesnt care if we are ill only that a body is there to keep those doors open. You are fortunate the board was understanding and did their job with a thorough investigation. I am so sorry you had to endure such an experience also.
- Sep 13, '09 by tencatI'm glad your supervisor got what was coming.......
As to working when sick....If I'm that sick, I won't see patients. Do I like to cancel on patients? No. However, I have to take care of myself. My boss does not have a plan in place for when a nurse in our unit is out, and boss tells us it's our responsibility to take care of it. We don't have anyone to fill in for us (PRN, etc) , so the only alternative is to work sick, or to cancel visits. Makes the boss mad, but visits get canceled if I'm that sick.
- Sep 13, '09 by CaffeinatedI currently have a write-up hiding somewhere in my file for excessive absenteeism; I missed work for two consecutive days with a doctor's statement.
Our policy states three or more episodes of absenteeism in a 30 day period is excessive. Because I work weekends, 12hr shifts, the director says this is the equivalent of three days. She also interprets each day missed as an "episode".
These are the only days I have missed in a period of about 9months. I considered arguing the write up with corporate, etc but in this facility I think such action would do more harm than good so I summarized the policy in the comment section and left it alone. Trying to talk to any of the management in this place is like talking to a brick wall, only with more attitude.
I think its just awful that your manager reported you to the BON, however I just love that it resulted in them coming after her for her policies on sick employees.
- Sep 13, '09 by AOx1I had this happen. My physician was furious. He called my supervisor himself and asked her if she intended to continue practicing medicine without a license, and if not, why she was questioning his judgment that I was not to go back to work less than 24 hours after my hospital discharge. He told her if she did intend to write me up that he would turn her in to the board for practicing medicine without a license. This seemed to take care of things
- Sep 13, '09 by NurseJennDennMy physician called my super. She did not listen to a word he said. However, I met with the head of HR and was told I would be given a positive reference, and when I had a doctors clearance, I could come back and apply. Over my dead body!!!! The situation in our hospital w/ admin is so bad that a rad tech who was fired the day before Thanksgiving last year showed up two days later and shot and killed one of his supervisors and critically wounded his direct super. This was tragic but gives you an example of the kind of back up and support employees get from admin. I was in the ICU that day and saw the police shoot and kill the ex-employee from our window. Since when did non-profit hospitals become run by bean counters? Grrrrrr. I will NEVER work there again.
- Sep 13, '09 by saintplatypusTo answer you simply... yes I have had to work sick many times. I attempted to call in but the facility couldn't cover my shift so I had no choice but to go. Tonight is an example of this. Picked up tonight as an extra shift and have had diarrhea all night and day with stomach cramps and low grade temp. Got little to no sleep thru the night and haven't been able to rest at all today. At 6pm (4 hrs prior to shift ) I decided to call in and was told there was no one who could cover me. I asked them to try to call 2 specific nurses which they did, but neither was able to cover. If I don't go in then the 2nd shift nurse would be forced to pull a double. I can't do that to another nurse, wouldn't want it done to me. So I will go in as scheduled. I really don't think what I have is contageous so I am ok with it. I just feel like poo poo. Oops pardon the bad pun there.