called in sick, nurse manager calling back (inappropriate tactics?) - page 3

by jbaggins 15,201 Views | 67 Comments

My husband and I work together as RNs on the same unit (ICU) and we work the same schedule. No problems on that front so far between us, staff, or management. Neither of us has called in sick since signing on 18 months ago. ... Read More


  1. 1
    Three patients. Doesn't sound like an ICU that is well run, nor safe for the patients.
    Quote from DizzyLizzyNurse
    Just wanted to point out some of us only have cell phones. I don't have a land line.

    Your NM was totally out of line. But make sure your husband is prepared next time the calls in because you KNOW the NM will be calling and harrassing him to come in. That's when you turn your ringer off.

    What do you mean you got tripled?
    nuangel1 likes this.
  2. 1
    Quote from jbaggins
    My husband and I work together as RNs on the same unit (ICU) and we work the same schedule. No problems on that front so far between us, staff, or management. Neither of us has called in sick since signing on 18 months ago.

    Yesterday, he called in sick for the first time ever (vomiting and diarrhea.) He gave plenty of notice, calling both our nurse manager and charge nurse at midnight. Our shift is 7a-7p.

    At 4am, our NM called my husband. My husband was ill, and could predict that it was a plea to retract his sick day, and decided not to pick up. Then, the NM texted my husband "please call me back asap."

    Ten minutes later, the NM called my cell phone. I of course happened to be finishing my last precious hours of sleep before showing up to work at 7am. I did not pick up! Five minutes later, the NM texted my phone: "please let your husband know to call me. we will need his help at 11. thank you."

    Then, between 0400-0430, NM proceeded to call us BOTH one more time. He proceeded to leave a message on my husband's phone: "we will be needing you to come in as several nurses will be tripled."

    What????!

    My husband did end up going into work (i know, i know ) much to our charge nurse's dismay. It turns out, had he not retracted his sick day, the NM would have ended up coming in to take patients. My husband ended up working while he was sick, and three nurses were tripled anyway (I was one of them.)

    Is this a typical tactic in nursing these days? I feel that this was inappropriate behavior on our NM's part, and can't help but to feel somewhat violated - on my husband's behalf, and that the NM was disturbing my sleep when he knew I would be working in several hours?

    Not sure why I'm posting, just trying to vent and find some solidarity I guess. Thanks
    Where I work we get some pleas and mandated but none as pathetic as this, I suppose. I think by your husband going in , "management" might think he wasn't really that sick. Know what I mean? Not that that matters, but any little thing can set them off in terms of raises, evaluations, lay offs etc...I am not suprised they texted you in order to get a hold of him, but for something like this , they could have left voice messages. If i was getting texts from work , " call asap" repeatedly I would expect it to be something VERY important relating to pt care , otherwise I would expect a message. This is exactly what I feel will become par for the course in nursing. This happened in my retail jobs so why not in nursing?
    SweettartRN likes this.
  3. 7
    Don't you have caller Id ? Your husband just reinforced this bad behavior by caving in. Next time ignore the messages and texts, turn your phone off. Now that nm knows they can guilt your fam into coming in, guess what will happen every time now? Not only should your nm know better, but as grown adults you should. Know better than to give in o this type of behavior.
    canoehead, wooh, SweettartRN, and 4 others like this.
  4. 3
    Quote from BostonTerrierLoverRN
    I would never ever ever ever give out my cell number, if I am "On Assignment," they have the land line number to my room. This is harassment, and you guys must be very cordial-because that would not fly with 90% of nurses-especially the Disease Control Nurse!
    I don't have a landline phone. Many people don't. .
  5. 1
    Thanks everyone for your replies. I feel a little less crazy now. Sometimes it's easy to "get used to" this kind of treatment and to feel like you are being "whiny" for feeling mistreated or any sort of discontent. Our unit nurses are fairly accustomed to being pushed around by our management in this way, and hardly ever complain. Unfortunately, I feel like the NM has some leverage on our situation because he gives us the same schedule. This is valuable to us, as we live an hour away (gas $), and own a secondary business that requires us to have time off together. I know it sounds terrible that he ended up caving to the demands. It all ends up being a little political, doesn't it? We will most likely end up not taking any action with HR for the sake of preserving our personal arrangement and peace. I do feel for other nurses on our unit who do end up being coerced into working overtime and retracting their sick days as a result of these tactics.

    To merlee: there are definitely facilities out there that hire couples and accomodate their scheduling requests, especially when it comes to travelers (which we aren't.) I don't see why it should be a problem when it comes to professional adults.

    Re: cell phones, we don't have a landline, as others have stated. Texting comes with the territory, it's not a big deal. I do prefer receiving a courtesy text to having to pick up a phone when it comes to TB test/mask fitting/in-service reminders, etc.
    Last edit by jbaggins on Nov 13, '12
    BostonTerrierLoverRN likes this.
  6. 4
    @anotherone:
    Okay, yes, fail.

    I guess ignore is only way.

    But, I still don't give out my cell to management. I have bought a lil' cheap Nokia Tracfone while with Fastaff, if "on call."

    I just don't want to deal with being called in on "off" days. That is my biggest complaint with most hospitals.

    I'm gullible, and can't say no, or if I can, I still end up being talked into a shift. If I stick by my guns and say no- I feel guilty and crappy, if yes, I feel angry, used, and abused. No Win unless I want the overtime, or a day off and expect I may get cancelled.

    Otherwise I ignore. Cancellation is mostly a hoop dream anyway!!Another plus is I live rural. No service calls is a legible excuse here.

    When they pay my bill, they can have 24 hour access to me.
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Nov 13, '12
    Gold_SJ, GrnTea, IrieVybez, and 1 other like this.
  7. 1
    Oh boy, I can sure sympathize. I shut my phone off most of the time so my voice mail picks up and I check it when MY SLEEP time is over with. "oh gosh I didn't even hear the phone ringing I was so tired and my poor husband, he is even more tired than I am being so sick and all. We slept right through any attempts to contact us, I apologize. Now What did you need?". A simple no way, "I wouldn't want him putting our patients health/healing at risk by taking a chance catching this AWFUL bug he has, not to mention infectiing other staff members". Ok so I am role playing here, lol. But that would be what I would have done. I used to have a boss that would try and bully me into covering all the time for the same people calling off, time and time again. In the almost three years I worked there, I only took two sick days. One of which, I made the mistake of picking up and she talked me into coming in 3-11. Sheeesh! All those shifts I covered for other people and I can't get one darn day off! grrr.. If we would not come in when asked/told to in order to cover for someone else. Um, there would be subtle retaliation; erroneous write ups, pick pick pick. In your case, sounds like blatant HARRASSMENT. Also sounds like my old mgr. who would never dream of actually taking patient assignments to help her staff out. (it's so hrs to respect someone like that!) When one is truly vomiting and running to the bathroom every 15 minutes. There is no way your head is in any shape to safely take on ICU patients, or ANY patients for that matter. If you are Union Greivence all the way! If no union, although it's tough we as caretakers must advocate on our own behalf because obviously in alot of circumstances our boss sure does not have our back. I am blessed now to have a Mgmt. team that does evrything in their power to see that we get the R & R we need when. Good luck to you and may god bless you with good health. =}
    Fiona59 likes this.
  8. 1
    If I was awake because of my phone ringing, I would have answered. And said that my husband was up all night sick. Therefore, you had no say on the matter, but it was your understanding that he called out, and that should he choose to call back, he would. Unfortunetely, one hand washing the other is more than likely the culprit here. If they give you both the same shifts, then I am sure they feel "put out" if you all don't make acccommodations for them. And your husband was guilted into going in to work. And a number of you were tripled anyway. And your husband went into work sick. With critical patients. And the NM didn't work the floor, even though you ended up tripled anyways. Apparently, patient safety is not within your NM's management style, nor her strong suit. And if it is not in writing, but a deal you and your husband made with management to be scheduled together, then unfortunetely, I would expect that your NM will call in favors. Probably more often than not. Travellers write their own contracts. And can state that husband/wives work together, take it or leave it. Unfortunetely, when you make verbal deals, then the expectations could be different. So it was way out of line, it was playing on your husband's guilt, and I would say to the NM that you felt uncomfortable with her calling you regarding your husband. And if I were your husband, I would be angry that the NM called you after it was obvious he was not responding.
    redhead_NURSE98! likes this.
  9. 0
    I always get called in on my days off. I always say no, unless it is to work overtime and it includes a bonus. They hate paying the bonus but will do so when desperate....

    Anyway, I asked my NM straight up.......what are you trying to do burn me out?

    The bottom line is that we are resources. They do not care about us or recognize the fact that we all need balance in our lives....

    We must advocate for ourselves because no one else will. I have made it clear that I will not work three days in a row, nor will I work more than 4 shifts in a week.

    As a result of having a balanced life, I seldom get sick and have never had to call off. Many coworkers will work 6 shifts one week to help out and then call off 3 shifts the following week d/t exhaustion......

    Seriously?
  10. 5
    Because it's soooooooooo obvious that someone with N/V/D should be working with critically-ill patients, right?

    So sorry that your work environment is so non-supportive!
    GrnTea, jadelpn, KelRN215, and 2 others like this.


Top