sick nurses

  1. I will soon be a new grad. and I have noticed a lot of nurses who work with colds and coughs; one even told me she had to keep running to the bathroom to throw-up. Is this a good evironment for spreading colds and viruses, or are shortages just so bad that nurses have to work sick? Is it possible to do a good job while sick?

    Thanks for replying.
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    Quote from Lauriek
    I will soon be a new grad. and I have noticed a lot of nurses who work with colds and coughs; one even told me she had to keep running to the bathroom to throw-up. Is this a good evironment for spreading colds and viruses, or are shortages just so bad that nurses have to work sick? Is it possible to do a good job while sick?

    Thanks for replying.
    At most places where I have worked managment viewed all calloffs as unnecessary. Often going as far as to suspend employees who use sick time. This totally conflicts with evidence that shows that employees who come in sick do substandard work and spread illness. Most places have very poor sick benefits and thinking that people use them just to gold brick is laughable. I really hate occurence policys, an occurence being a black mark against you.
  4. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Lauriek
    I will soon be a new grad. and I have noticed a lot of nurses who work with colds and coughs; one even told me she had to keep running to the bathroom to throw-up. Is this a good evironment for spreading colds and viruses, or are shortages just so bad that nurses have to work sick? Is it possible to do a good job while sick?

    Thanks for replying.
    yes,yes,and maybe....We only earn so much sick time and face discipline for calling off...A cold is certainly "workable" as long as you are scrupulous with your handwashing and cough into tissues or your shirt sleve and wipe down things like your telephone and door knobs frequently-and you probably got that cold from a co-worker or patient......If I called off every time I did not feel 100% great I would only work a few days a week...I do call out when I am really sick-I don't martyr myself..If I am vomiting or have diarrhea I am outta there....that's a bunch of crap IMHO-the nurse that will run back and forth to the bathroom vomiting and moaning and checking her temp every 20 mins is attention seeking.........If you have a communicable disease that is dangerous to your patients you don't need to be there...Take the precautions to keep yourself healthy-flu vacs,vitamins etc....I feel bad about possibly spreading a cold to the elderly because of the possible complications but families and visitors,vendors and even the docs come in coughing and sneezing,too....I try to save my sick time for days that my son has to miss school.......or "mental health" days maybe once a yr.....
  5. by   oramar
    Quote from oramar
    At most places where I have worked managment viewed all calloffs as unnecessary. Often going as far as to suspend employees who use sick time. This totally conflicts with evidence that shows that employees who come in sick do substandard work and spread illness. Most places have very poor sick benefits and thinking that people use them just to gold brick is laughable. I really hate occurence policys, an occurence being a black mark against you.
    Most employers don't have sick time anymore anyway, they have comp time. My own observations is that the best policy is to allow sick time to accure. That way people don't feel they have to use it by end of year or lose it. A lot of employers are doing away with accured time.
  6. by   Katnip
    It's our hospital policy to give you a warning if you miss three days a year. You get a couple of warnings and they fire you. So yes, people come to work sick.
  7. by   JMP
    If you live in my neck of the woods, sick time is unlimited. After 2 years you get 80% full pay, after 3 years, 90% and after 4 years, 100 %. Employer cannot ask what is wrong, physically or mentally. I know some nurses who have been off over 2 years with mental challenges, and as long as they prove they are seeking help, the cheques keep rolling in.
    But then, I work in a highly unionized hospital. Sick time is not something you can be disiplined for. I am not saying there is not great abuse of the system, it is just the system we have.

    I do know that if you have high sick time, they can call you in for an "awareness program'.........but then again I think they had to cancel it as it was seen as a form of harassment.
    Last edit by JMP on May 2, '04
  8. by   Tweety
    I can not make it through a 12 hour shift sick. I've been known to work with a minor cold, but that's hit. I've worked with overwhelming fatigue and that's bad enough. I'm fortunately very healthy for the most part and don't have to use up sick days and have plenty of sick hours available. (Last time I called in was October 2002, hmmm...maybe time for a mental health day. ) (Our sick time is personal days off, same bank we have to use for vacation. I save my 30 days a year for vacations, plus save have about 400 hours in the bank for emergencies, in case I have to miss a lot of time, like if I break a leg or something.)

    I feel bad for people who are at the edge of discipline for calling in sick so much that they have to work while running to the bathroom to throw up. I can't do it.
  9. by   tattooednursie
    I used to be scared to death to call in sick. I would come to work with the stomach flu, bronchitis, pnumonia (before I was sent to the ER, then was diagnosed with pnumonia). I realized that it was not worth it. I was doing myself no good, and no one else, because I could not function. Now if i am to the point to where I cannot function because I am ill or contageous at the time I pick up the phone and call in. On the other hand I don't think its a good idea to call in all the time, for every time you sneeze or get hungover lol. People who call in with hangover really make me mad! If you party the day before you come into work you should keep in mind that you won't feel too hot! You CAN work with a hangover, I know this first hand. I feel that working with the stomach flu, or the contageous stages of anything should be a BIG no no. In fact it should be a requirement that staff do not work in that condition.
  10. by   nekhismom
    Well, seeing as how I am currently on the 90 day probationary status as a new employee, I have worked sick quite a few days. BUt the day I was puking, I left early. I can't do it. I just refuse.

    I don't think calling in goes over too well where I'm at.
  11. by   smk1
    i once worked as an aide in an assisted living facility where they had written in their manual that staff was prohibited from coming to work with a teperature of 100.5 or higher or vomiting/diarrhea. I called in with a temp of 102.9 and was told that i must come in. I quoted their handbook to them and the charge nurse said "that's too bad, we need you." Pushover that i was at the time i dragged my butt in there and was shocked to learn that another girl was allowed to call off because she had to study for a test for nursing school! I started a new job search that day.
  12. by   bargainhound
    I have also seen facilities who do not follow their own policies.....and require nurses to work sick....tell them there is no one to replace them.....instead of calling an agency nurse to fill in....saves money they think....each nurse much look out for self....facilities will require you to work sick and infect patients, etc.....but they will not take care of you or your family for the rest of your or their lives.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    it's because in many facilities nurses are their most expensive, yet expendable, resource. THAT is why you see sick nurses working often, at least in the USA. Welcome to realworld nursing.
  14. by   Blackcat99
    :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire I worked at a place where CNA's had to come in and prove that they were sick before they could have the day off. The nurses were expected to take the CNA's vital signs and if the vital signs were normal the CNA's were expected to stay at work that day.

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