How does your hospital/unit handle call ins?

  1. I was curious to see how other facilities handle this touchy subject. I was working as the house supervisor on Sunday morning. I had both nurses scheduled to work the 3-11 shift in the extended care unit call in ill. This department is notorious for calling in, especially on weekends. But, nothing seems to be done about it. At the LTC facility I worked at a few years ago before I became a nurse was fairly strict about call ins. If you called in on your weekend to work, you got to work the next one, no questions asked. That policy pretty much eliminated any "questionable" call ins. My current facility doesn't seem to have much of a policy in place except that if you miss more that two days do to illness, you need a doctor's note. Each department manager just handles each situation as it comes along. I feel their should be a hospital wide policy on call ins, and the same rules should apply to everyone, regardless. I know I just dreaming, but I was wondering what other facilities do. I know just about everyone gets sick once and a while, and that I have no problem with. It is the same people who call in all the time. Thanks for letting me vent.
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    We keep track of who calls in and write down why, if they say, if they had requested off or oncall for that shift and if it was a weekend. People develop patterns over a few months, and they are counselled prn.
  4. by   mcl4
    Originally posted by deespoohbear
    I was curious to see how other facilities handle this touchy subject. I was working as the house supervisor on Sunday morning. I had both nurses scheduled to work the 3-11 shift in the extended care unit call in ill. This department is notorious for calling in, especially on weekends. But, nothing seems to be done about it. At the LTC facility I worked at a few years ago before I became a nurse was fairly strict about call ins. If you called in on your weekend to work, you got to work the next one, no questions asked. That policy pretty much eliminated any "questionable" call ins. My current facility doesn't seem to have much of a policy in place except that if you miss more that two days do to illness, you need a doctor's note. Each department manager just handles each situation as it comes along. I feel their should be a hospital wide policy on call ins, and the same rules should apply to everyone, regardless. I know I just dreaming, but I was wondering what other facilities do. I know just about everyone gets sick once and a while, and that I have no problem with. It is the same people who call in all the time. Thanks for letting me vent.


    This was the policy of my previous employeer, but I was amazed how many times a person who called in ill, was reschedule to work the following weekend due to this sick call, called in ill on the rescheduled shift. My feeling is that if you have a person who calls in consistently ill without verification of an illness, they should be given a warning that they need to be at their scheduled weekend shifts and if the problem continues, the person is terminated. This would send a message to all staff members that abuse ill calls. The problem with my previous employer was they never let go the abusers of ill calls. It was a good deal of fustration for other staff since they more then likely had to do this person's job along with their own


    However, for someone like myself, who is ill twice in nine years, I feel that I should not be scheduled on the next weekend since I was truly ill. Fortunately, I never became ill and needed to call in on a weekend shift other then once and I had a signed note from my physician when I had a miscarriage.
  5. by   RNforLongTime
    At my hospital, we are required to call in 2 hours before the start of our scheduled shift. IF it's a weekend, there is a policy that says that the hospital can require you to work on you regular weekend off but this is rarely inforced. As a full time staffer, I am allowed 6 call offs in a 12 month period. If there is a pattern then a verbal warning is given to that employee. But there are people that call off regularly and I hae yet to see anyone fired as we are so short of staff--nurses and aides alike.
  6. by   VAC
    I understand you frustration with the staff calling in, but I would like to point out that in most other feilds of work, employees are not penalized for being sick or needing to call in, and are actually given a week or so of sick pay every year. Only in nursing, where we care for those who are sick, are we "not allowed" to be sick if someone is going to be incovenienced. Conditions in nursing will not improve with this gestapo mentality. We need to demand the treatment that is taken for granted by every other worker in the country. If hospitals were not staffed so lean, perhaps it wouldn't be such an issue if someone needed to take a sick day.

    It is nobody's business why I call in sick, which I don't do often, and I would resent it as an invasion of privacy if an employer demanded and explanation beyond a doctors note for a prolonged absence.

    Just my opinion,

    VAC
  7. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    All too frequently policies are implemented globally that affect all staff when only a few need the sanction. Address the problem with the individuals involved and don't punish the rest of the staff who are acting responsibly. If you look at all the new policies that float down from administration you might be surprised to find that they are the result of infractions by one or two individuals only, yet everyone else has to suffer. The 80/20 rule applies: 80 percent of the people suffer because 20 percent of the staff made mistakes. Deal with the 20%.

    my best to you
    chas
  8. by   mcl4
    Originally posted by VAC
    I understand you frustration with the staff calling in, but I would like to point out that in most other feilds of work, employees are not penalized for being sick or needing to call in, and are actually given a week or so of sick pay every year. Only in nursing, where we care for those who are sick, are we "not allowed" to be sick if someone is going to be incovenienced. Conditions in nursing will not improve with this gestapo mentality. We need to demand the treatment that is taken for granted by every other worker in the country. If hospitals were not staffed so lean, perhaps it wouldn't be such an issue if someone needed to take a sick day.

    It is nobody's business why I call in sick, which I don't do often, and I would resent it as an invasion of privacy if an employer demanded and explanation beyond a doctors note for a prolonged absence.

    Just my opinion,

    VAC

    Your are missing the point entirely. The topic is for those staff members who call in consistently and possibly not even be ill.
    A person calling in consistently leaves moral down when others have to pick up the slack.

    No one is saying that if you are sick don't stay home, but for those who are abusing this policy, you are leaving your patients and staff to deal with your irresponsible behavior. I say fire them.
    It is too hard to depend them when it come to staffing the weekend shifts.

    You are wrong when you state that other professions/employers deal with abusers of sick calls differently. In fact, I think they take a stronger stance. Recently, an employee at my husbands job was to meet with the new owners of the pharmacy. She did not show up twice due to ill calls and the comment made by the new president of this company "well, we don't have to take her along" and she now is unemployeed. She is also a person who called in ill a lot over the years. I would say that this behavior finally caught up with her and it had consequences.
  9. by   mcl4
    It is nobody's business why I call in sick, which I don't do often, and I would resent it as an invasion of privacy if an employer demanded and explanation beyond a doctors note for a prolonged absence.

    Just my opinion,

    VAC [/B][/QUOTE]


    Well honestly, a doctor's note would give the full explanation, wouldn't you think?

    The problem with ill calls I believe happens more with long term facilites from my experience. What I notice works more to curtail a person who abuses sick calls was their peers making comments about their consistent ill call patterns. Frankly, the staff had little sympathy for these folks.
  10. by   radnurse2001
    our hospital has a policy that states if anyone calls in more than 3 times in a 4 month period, disiplinary action will be brought. The funny thing is, people keep track of their call ins and will call the day after the 4 month period is over. It is hard to determine when someone is sick or if they are just blowing off. I used to work with a chronic sick caller. She had multiple disipliary actions, including suspension without pay. Nothing helped. She was ultimatey fired---due in part to our documentation. The pattern was discovered. But on the other hand, I work with a nurse who had MS and was sick alot too. I don't personally call off sick unless I can't walk, stop barfing or can't get off the toilet. when these things happen, I stay home. I can't stand people who come to work sick and infect everyone else--one of my many pet-peeves. I tell the people I work with to please stay home--I don't want to get it. So ...The people who call in constantly are annoying and the people who come to work with pink eye or coughing and hacking all over are annoying too. I guess I am hard to please.

    Hey how about common sense--the one thing we often lack!!!!!!

    Anne
  11. by   mcl4
    Originally posted by Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    All too frequently policies are implemented globally that affect all staff when only a few need the sanction. Address the problem with the individuals involved and don't punish the rest of the staff who are acting responsibly. If you look at all the new policies that float down from administration you might be surprised to find that they are the result of infractions by one or two individuals only, yet everyone else has to suffer. The 80/20 rule applies: 80 percent of the people suffer because 20 percent of the staff made mistakes. Deal with the 20%.

    my best to you
    chas

    I agree with this message. Great point.
  12. by   night owl
    Working for the government ...That just about explains it all.
    We have people who, if they come to work two days a week, is just about short of a miracle! Our policy is anything three days and over, you need a Dr's note. Some of them must spend half their time and what little pay they get going to and paying the Doc's! To be quite frank, I don't understand how they survive on what little pay they get. Then they have the nerve to ask others who do get a decent paycheck if they can borrow 100, 200 dollars until next pay. Heck, I don't think they even make THAT much when they do get paid. Then if you do call out alot you weren't allowed to do overtime. Because we're so short, they now let those who can't ever come to work, work other shifts to make up for what they didn't make. Now I have a big problem with that. I just tics me off that they'll leave our shift short all the time, but will come in for overtime on other shifts. But in reality, it's not really overtime for them. Leave it to the government to do some junk like that. And the same ones never want to do what they're supposed to do, and sleep from 1am 'til 5am, never checking their pt's! They could be dead for all they know! It takes forever to get rid of them. Why? The answer that I always get is, "Well that's just the way the government works." Hell, just plain fire them...simple. No fuss, no muss. There are people out there who wished they had a job and are willing to come to work...Thanks for listening, I appreciate it.
    Last edit by night owl on Nov 27, '01
  13. by   deespoohbear
    I am not talking about the people who are truly sick. I am talking about your chronic call ins. One of the people who called in for me on Sunday had made it known to other employees that she was making plans with an out of town friend. We once had another employee call in ill on a Saturday day shift, and then showed up at another employee's wedding reception that evening!! Talk about guts! We are allowed sick days and no fault days at our facility. As for other places of employments allowing their people off without grief, I am not so sure about. I know several people who work in factories on production lines, and about the only time they call in sick is when they are nearly dead for fear of disciplinary action. I would say most factories and blue collar employers are like that. We have had employees call in 15 minutes before the shift starts!!
    The funny thing in this whole situation is the few people who call in very rarely are the ones who receive the most hassle. I was so sick last year, I ended up in the ER needing IV fluids. I caught all kinds of static from management!! The people who call in at least 2 times a pay period every pay period are the ones who continue to get by with it.
  14. by   VAC
    [QUOTE]Well honestly, a doctor's note would give the full explanation, wouldn't you think?

    Well, gee, that would depend on how the note was worded. It could say that you were under this doctors care and advised not to work. I don't think an employer is always entitled to details, beyond that.

    I can see that no one agrees with me on this subject, so I'll drop it.

    This is still my favorite nurse's website

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