Calling out sick - page 4

by Jules A

6,649 Visits | 41 Comments

Is it just me or does anyone else think that the people missing work for "illness" is completely over the top now? I feel old and crochety every day but can count on both hands the times I've called out sick over the past 25... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from ArwenEvenstar
    Should one be proud that they have only called in 10 days in 25 years? (no offense OP!) But there is a difference between being dependable and being a doormat. There is a difference between being reliable and being a martyr.
    Lol, no offense taken but I really don't feel that I am being a doormat or martyr for not taking off just because I'm in a crappy mood.

    Quote from lucky1RN
    If you're sick, then by all means, stay home. I understand all the dangers to self, patients, and co-workers from people working when they're ill.

    However, I object to this whole "mental health day" business. The way I see it, once the schedule is posted, you have committed to be at work on your scheduled days. If something comes up, and you need time off when you're scheduled, then it's your responsibility to find a replacement.

    I hold myself to a pretty high standard and just wouldn't feel right leaving my co-workers in a lurch because I woke up in a bad mood. Don't get me wrong, I feel no loyalty to the the hospital and couldn't care less how my absence would affect management. But, I know that one less nurse on a shift means higher nurse-patient ratios. My co-workers will have to work harder, faster, and at a higher risk for making mistakes. Working short leaves the unit morale low which will ultimately affect me and how happy I am with my job.
    Thank you for replying. I also feel that by agreeing to my schedule I am committed to work unless truly sick. If I want or need a day off I arrange it ahead of time or find someone to switch with me. Whether it is a management problem or not calling out does negatively affect my unit so I avoid it when possible.
  2. 3
    I used to drag myself to work even if I was in pain or sick as a dog (if non-patient care), but I've learned my lesson. A few years ago I had a horrible infection in my tooth and jaw, but because my boss basically threatened me not to leave the department short-staffed, I drug myself in. It was one of the most miserable days in my life. I thought some of my co-workers would pitch in and help me (as I have helped them many times in the past and some certainly weren't busy that day) and not one of them pitched in. Boy was I in for a rude awakening regarding teamwork in that department. Of course it was my fault because I shouldn't have given into the bosses threats and just stayed home. To make a long story short, I left that department and now work in a true teamwork environment that comes together when short-staffed. But I still am very disappointed in my previous co-workers and I learned a big lesson. Now I stay home if I don't feel well and don't feel a drop of guilt because of it.
    imanedrn, ShifraPuah, and Jules A like this.
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    When I did my hospital orientation we were told by a nurse manager that taking a mental health day is completely understandable and that the hospital would prefer us to do this rather than come into work feeling flat, stressed out and potentially cause harm to our patients.

    I see nothing wrong with doing it, provided it doesn't become a habit. I'm also not ashamed to admit I would take about 3 mental health days off a year.
    ShifraPuah likes this.
  4. 0
    I see nothing wrong with calling in if you are truly sick or even if you just need a mental health day as long as it isn't a habit. The facility where I work has been working short staffed for about three weeks now because we have strep throat and some sort of GI thing spreading like wildfire. I have to wonder if the first person who was diagnosed (who did not call in but had to be sent home because she looked and sounded terrible) had called in instead of trying to be brave and make it through her shift if we would have so many people out with a similar illness. Sure, we can't prove that it started with her and so many of these things are more contagious before you become symptomatic, but to me, it is a very good example of why people should stay home.

    I wonder if fewer people would take "mental health days" if they were allowed to cash in their sick pay. It seems pretty unfair that someone who uses all of their sick time taking mental health days benefits more than someone who does not...they are getting more paid days off than someone who has three months of sick time built up.
  5. 0
    Quote from Scrubby
    When I did my hospital orientation we were told by a nurse manager that taking a mental health day is completely understandable and that the hospital would prefer us to do this rather than come into work feeling flat, stressed out and potentially cause harm to our patients.

    I see nothing wrong with doing it, provided it doesn't become a habit. I'm also not ashamed to admit I would take about 3 mental health days off a year.
    Wow- what a great hospital! I see you are in Australia. Although nurses here do take "mental health" days, I do not think most hospitals here (USA) would "endorse" it like the nurse manager during your hospital orientation! And when I take a mental health day, I just say generically that I am "sick". I am very rarely physically sick, but I do usually call off 2 or maybe 3 times a year, and I will honestly say that those are generally "mental health" days. I am sick - sick of working!:wink2: I think calling off 2 or 3 times a year (that is once every 4 to 6 months) is PERFECTLY acceptable.

    I'm changing topic slightly...But I have several European friends, and something I have noticed is that in the western European countries the workers get MUCH more paid time off each year than USA employees. They also have shorter work week hours in some of these countries as well (35 hour work week is standard instead of 40 plus). These European countries seem much more progressive in realizing that workers need ample time off to recuperate and relax from working. They don't believe in working their employees to death! Most of the people I know in Europe take a month long vacation all at once! (And they still have several MORE vacation weeks to use later!) There seems to be a real psychological difference too - in the USA, vacation time is "permitted" but not usually encouraged - it is treated like an inconvenience to the employer. "What?! You want a 2 week vacation?!" But in Europe, it is simply part of the culture, it is normal and expected to take vacation time!

    I don't have any stats to back this up - but I am willing to bet that European workers call in sick less BECAUSE they have generous vacation time. They aren't as run down and stressed out. I likely would NOT need several "mental health" days if I had such generous time off each year.

    (Note: I do understand that it is not so simple to compare Europe to the USA. Other differences come into play, and one can't compare apples to oranges.) But my general point is just that there is a whole different "attitude" in Europe vs. USA about time off. Europeans probably would not even understand some of the debate going on in this thread! Of course people need time off and mental health days. Other various countries don't seem to have this "workaholic", "It is BAD to take a day off", "work even if you are sick" attitude. Like the Australian who posted above and said her hospital is okay with mental health days...How refreshing!
    Last edit by ArwenEvenstar on Sep 2, '08 : Reason: changed soemthing
  6. 0
    Quote from ArwenEvenstar
    Wow- what a great hospital! I see you are in Australia. Although nurses here do take "mental health" days, I do not think most hospitals here (USA) would "endorse" it like the nurse manager during your hospital orientation! And when I take a mental health day, I just say generically that I am "sick". I am very rarely physically sick, but I do usually call off 2 or maybe 3 times a year, and I will honestly say that those are generally "mental health" days. I am sick - sick of working!:wink2: I think calling off 2 or 3 times a year (that is once every 4 to 6 months) is PERFECTLY acceptable.

    I'm changing topic slightly...But I have several European friends, and something I have noticed is that in the western European countries the workers get MUCH more paid time off each year than USA employees. They also have shorter work week hours in some of these countries as well (35 hour work week is standard instead of 40 plus). These European countries seem much more progressive in realizing that workers need ample time off to recuperate and relax from working. They don't believe in working their employees to death! Most of the people I know in Europe take a month long vacation all at once! (And they still have several MORE vacation weeks to use later!) There seems to be a real psychological difference too - in the USA, vacation time is "permitted" but not usually encouraged - it is treated like an inconvenience to the employer. "What?! You want a 2 week vacation?!" But in Europe, it is simply part of the culture, it is normal and expected to take vacation time!

    I don't have any stats to back this up - but I am willing to bet that European workers call in sick a lot less BECAUSE they have generous vacation time. They aren't as run down and stressed out. I likely would NOT need several "mental health" days if I had such generous time off each year.

    (Note: I do understand that it is not so simple to compare Europe to USA. Other differences come into play, and one can't compare apples to oranges.) But my general point is just that there is a whole different attitude in Europe vs. USA about time off. Europeans probably would not even understand some of the debate going on in this thread! Of course people need time off and mental health days. Like the Australian who posted above and said her hospital is okay with mental health days...
    I work in the privat sector and get 4 weeks paid holiday(vacation) a year.I know in the NHS they get more depending on how long they have worked there.
    If we work public holidays we either get an enhanced rate of pay or a ' day in lieu' to be taken at a later date. I've never heard of ' Mental Health 'days.
  7. 2
    I feel bad when my co-workers have to work short because of my calling in but the reason I usually call in is because of the brutal working conditions I have to deal with. I'm sorry but it's a choice of call in for one day or just quit because my nerves can't take it anymore.

    I also do not feel a strong sense of loyalty to my employer because they have no loyalty to me. After over 20 years of service and loyalty the only thing the DON had to say to my mother when she said she was considering retirement at the end of this year was "When are you leaving so I can find someone else?" No you will be missed, we valued your service to us, No thank you no nothing. Sorry but my employer considers me just another body, easily replaced by the next new grad.
    GadgetRN71 and pagandeva2000 like this.
  8. 0
    I wouldn't call out sick so much if my employer paid out my sick time. They will pay out vacation time, but not sick. My sick time is part of my benefits package - part of my salary - and I am entitled to use it. If I don't use it, I lose it. If my hospital's administration would wise up to this they would have fewer call-outs. They are pretty dense so I don't expect them to figure that out, though. :chuckle
  9. 1
    I am taking a mental health day tomorrow, with no guilt attached. The clinic is usually overstaffed on Wednesdays and no clinic until 1pm, anyhow. They can do without me...or they are going to.
    Jules A likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from Jules A
    Thank you for replying. I also feel that by agreeing to my schedule I am committed to work unless truly sick. If I want or need a day off I arrange it ahead of time or find someone to switch with me. Whether it is a management problem or not calling out does negatively affect my unit so I avoid it when possible.
    We have to complete our schedule request ONE MONTH in advance. I wish I could plan out the days that I might get sick that far in advance! (I'm one of those who calls in for being physically sick -- the respiratory infection response -- vs. needing the mental health days. I guess I have enough time off not to need them!)


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