Sick Day - page 2

A PSA from the Florida DPH, very cute, and so very needed. Do everyone a favor and please, stay home if you are sick!... Read More

  1. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from indigo girl
    Exactly so. This has to stop somewhere. If we have to get docs involved or the
    state, whatever it takes, but this has to stop. We do ourselves, our patients, and
    our colleagues a disservice by working sick, and make a mockery of the words,
    health care. This is NOT health care.

    I do not believe that this will change until nurses finally say, ENOUGH.
    That idea's fine and dandy.

    Now, how will they handle being short on staffing, because people who have come to work and done their job should not be punished by having to take up the slack for workers who can't handle it.
  2. by   indigo girl
    I do not think of it as punishment that someone has to take care of the patients.
    This is what we do, and often it is not easy. I would like to think that my sick colleagues
    will relieve me once they have recovered, should I catch
    whatever bug is knocking everyone out.

    There are no easy answers. I am not saying that there are. I am
    postulating that a change in our thinking about working while ill is
    necessary, and that some other options should be explored. I am suggesting
    that discussion with management needs to begin because nothing
    will change unless our thinking as well as their policies about this issue
    begin to change. There are more of us than there are of them.
    Can we not advocate for ourselves as well as our patients? Why
    do we have to continue to do things this way? I believe that we could
    make a difference if enough of us got fed up, and decided to do something
    about it instead of just living with it.


    Who should step in when many staff nurses are out sick? How about starting
    with utilizing administrative and managerial nurses? I have seen this
    happen in some facilities. If units are understaffed, it is not unreasonable to
    ask that these other nurses pitch in, unless they want to pay for agency to
    come in, and maybe they will need to do both. We are talking about
    a temporary situation.


    I think that we should be asking our managers to help us out when
    it is obvious that everyone is coming down with something like noro virus
    or ILI. Most of these illnesses will run their course, and then everyone
    can get back to their regularly scheduled program, er, job.

    In the meantime, I want to hear why they can not or will not, before
    they try to coerce sick staff in to staying at work or coming in. Come
    down from those lofty perches, and pitch in.

    I do not mean to scapegoat administrative nurses. But it is a fact that in
    a real emergency, you are going to be seeing nurses from every job
    description being pulled in to help, and there is historical precedence
    for this, of course.

    PSA's are now targeting the general public about staying home
    and not spreading illness. I would like to think that we could be part
    of the solution rather than part of the problem. Personally, I am really
    tired of seeing sick staff coming into a facility, and infecting colleagues
    and patients. This is irresponsible behavior, and it happens over and
    over again every year. It is not a minor issue. Real suffering and illness
    have resulted. It's the dirty little secret of healthcare that we are
    helping to spread illness. Everyone of us that is not in denial has seen
    this year after year, and we are going to be seeing it all over again this
    fall and winter.
  3. by   EmmaG
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    That idea's fine and dandy.

    Now, how will they handle being short on staffing, because people who have come to work and done their job should not be punished by having to take up the slack for workers who can't handle it.
    Where do you get you're being "punished"?

    There's a big difference between not working sick and not being able to "handle it"--- whatever "it" may be.

    Frankly, I don't WANT someone to come in if they're sick. And how many times have you experienced having a nurse come in sick, only to have to leave during the shift? That is much more disruptive than if they had just stayed home and taken care of themselves.
  4. by   EmmaG
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    I've come to work when I didn't feel well so many times I can't count and staffing has never fallen short as a result.
    In fact, by the time you have started having ssx you have passed your most infectious stage, in most cases.
    I say an exhausted overworked nurse who has been there 16+ hrs. is more dangerous to patient safety than a nurse with a runny nose.
    I disagree. I have seen it too many times where an illness spreads through staff because someone didn't have the sense to just stay home--- or were harassed about calling in sick and decided to come in.

    As far as the danger to patients from sick nurses vs those working extended hours, you're comparing apples and oranges here. Both are dangerous in their own way. Like I said, I work with a neutropenic patient population. Hospitalized patients are already at a greater risk, these people catch everything that comes down the pike.
  5. by   RainDreamer
    I agree.

    And after reading stuff in here, I feel lucky to work in a place that is adequately staffed, and when you do call off sick they don't give you grief about it (which could be why we're adequately staffed).
  6. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    I disagree. I have seen it too many times where an illness spreads through staff because someone didn't have the sense to just stay home--- or were harassed about calling in sick and decided to come in.

    As far as the danger to patients from sick nurses vs those working extended hours, you're comparing apples and oranges here. Both are dangerous in their own way. Like I said, I work with a neutropenic patient population. Hospitalized patients are already at a greater risk, these people catch everything that comes down the pike.
    Call it apples and oranges or pears and grapes if you like but it is wrong to push it off on the coworkers. I just love getting a phone call after working most of a shift (I worked 3-11pm) from someone who is (allegedly) sick.

    Oh, and did you find your replacement?

    You mean, you're too ill to worry about a replacement?

    When you try to bully a nurse (or anyone else) into staying past their agreed upon shift it is punishment.

    Punishment! And apparently the BON thinks so, too, because I have it in writing what constitutes patient abandonment and failure to work past an agreed upon shift is NOT patient abandonment, but you can bet your bottom dollar the higher ups will try to make you think otherwise.

    Who wants to stay late and work extra shifts? There sure aren't any volunteers when it happens at any place I've worked.

    If it was a very rare occurrence it would not be such an issue but it happens way too much. I know it's a bigger issue with newborns and immunosuppressed people but this should be the exception.

    I'm being punished when I'm being coerced to stay against my will. Being expected to spend even more time away from my family and other responsibilities. It's like a tied up dog and all it can do is run to the end of its chain. Talk about stress. And it's stress because I am a responsible person.
  7. by   ElvishDNP
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    I say an exhausted overworked nurse who has been there 16+ hrs. is more dangerous to patient safety than a nurse with a runny nose.
    If I am a mother of a newborn baby, which I have been, I would not want a sick nurse coming in and breathing all over my baby. Period. Even if he is getting all my BFing antibodies.

    Huge difference between someone coming c a runny nose from allergies and someone coming in with still-contagious strep, or a puky stomach bug, or something similar. If I were your (universal you here) patient in the hosp and somehow found out you had strep throat, I would tell you to get your happy gluteus right on out of my room.
  8. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Arwen_U
    If I am a mother of a newborn baby, which I have been, I would not want a sick nurse coming in and breathing all over my baby. Period. Even if he is getting all my BFing antibodies.

    Huge difference between someone coming c a runny nose from allergies and someone coming in with still-contagious strep, or a puky stomach bug, or something similar. If I were your (universal you here) patient in the hosp and somehow found out you had strep throat, I would tell you to get your happy gluteus right on out of my room.
    First of all, I don't work with babies, and if I had been allowed to post earlier I specified I took exception with babies and immunosuppressed people.

    And come to think of it, why would you want anyone breathing all over your baby? If you came in my room breathing on my baby I'd probably do more than tell you to get your happy gluteus out of my room.

    Bottom line: sick days are way overused by most people. If you're that sick that you need to call in the way many people I know call in you need to go get on disability because you have a lot more wrong with you than a bug.
  9. by   EmmaG
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Call it apples and oranges or pears and grapes if you like but it is wrong to push it off on the coworkers. I just love getting a phone call after working most of a shift (I worked 3-11pm) from someone who is (allegedly) sick.

    Oh, and did you find your replacement?

    You mean, you're too ill to worry about a replacement?

    Since when is it up to the person calling in sick to find their replacement???? Wanting a day off for personal reasons--- perhaps, but sick? No. That is not their problem. Sorry.

    When you try to bully a nurse (or anyone else) into staying past their agreed upon shift it is punishment.
    Just say "no". And what do you consider bullying a nurse who's called in sick?

    Punishment! And apparently the BON thinks so, too, because I have it in writing what constitutes patient abandonment and failure to work past an agreed upon shift is NOT patient abandonment, but you can bet your bottom dollar the higher ups will try to make you think otherwise.
    No one is forcing you to stay over.
    Who wants to stay late and work extra shifts? There sure aren't any volunteers when it happens at any place I've worked.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that sick staff should stay home.

    I'm being punished when I'm being coerced to stay against my will.
    Just say no.

    And it's stress because I am a responsible person.
    Not working when you are sick is also being responsible.
  10. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    Since when is it up to the person calling in sick to find their replacement???? Wanting a day off for personal reasons--- perhaps, but sick? No. That is not their problem. Sorry.
    Oh no, not their problem, it just gets pushed onto me and becomes my problem.
    Their comfort, my expense.

    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    Just say "no". And what do you consider bullying a nurse who's called in sick?

    No one is forcing you to stay over.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that sick staff should stay home.

    Just say no.

    Not working when you are sick is also being responsible.
    You sure don't work at the places I've worked if you've never been wheedled and coaxed into staying over.

    Who else is going to do it? Oh wait, they can just close the nurse's station down like they close the office on a holiday and stick a sign up.

    Responsibility means seeing your job gets done. Calling up and out and dumping it on the poor schmuck out there pulling the wagon is just lazy and inconsiderate. While I'm the last one to usually side with the higher ups this is one thing I'm passionate about.
    There is rarely a good excuse for calling in sick. If you can drive yourself around and be around other people and expose them to what you have (that is probably past its contaigous stages anyway) you can come to work.
  11. by   indigo girl
    I think that we have all presented our differing points of view.

    Let us agree to disagree. Those reading these posts can make up
    their own minds, and perhaps think of what we have said as illness
    makes its way into our ranks in the next few months.

    I expect to see more public education about staying home when sick,
    and I hope that more people will do so. I also hope that more of us
    will work for change instead of accepting things as they have always
    been. I believe that we will gain more by being direct about this,
    and talking to management and staff before this begins to happen.

    Thanks to everyone for participating, and reading this thread.

    I hope that all of you remain well.

    indigo
  12. by   EmmaG
    Quote from indigo girl
    I think that we have all presented our differing points of view.

    Let us agree to disagree. Those reading these posts can make up
    their own minds, and perhaps think of what we have said as illness
    makes its way into our ranks in the next few months.

    I expect to see more public education about staying home when sick,
    and I hope that more people will do so. I also hope that more of us
    will work for change instead of accepting things as they have always
    been. I believe that we will gain more by being direct about this,
    and talking to management and staff before this begins to happen.

    Thanks to everyone for participating, and reading this thread.

    I hope that all of you remain well.

    indigo
    Indeed.
    Last edit by EmmaG on Sep 28, '07
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    staying home when sick is a wonderful idea -- i wish i could convince the powers that be at my institution that it's a good idea. instead, they've set up policies that almost mandate coming in to work when ill. three occurances in a rolling year -- even with a note from you physician -- and your raise is cancelled and you're subject to verbal warnings. four and you're subject to written reprimands. five and you're terminated.

    i can understand that some employees make a practice of calling in sick when they aren't -- they want a mental health day, or don't want to work a weekend, or need an extra day for their trip or whatever -- and our policy is probably aimed at them. but it also hurts a good many good, contientious nurses who for one reason or another are having a bad year.

    i'm at work now with probable pneumonia. after a back injury, a bout of shingles and a flare-up of my ibs, i've used all of my occurances until february. i feel like crap and i'm having coughing jags where i cough until i vomit, but i can't afford another occurance! even with a doctor's note.

    what if i had tb -- can you imagine the frenzy that management would fly into if i were working with tb? come to think of it, that might change the policy . . . .

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