At what point are employers asking TMI? - page 8

by KayRN910

8,249 Views | 78 Comments

I know this has been touched on in a few threads, but I think this offers a different perspective.. I just got a new job. (DREAM JOB, so excited!) I've been doing my new hire paper work, doing the drug screen, nicotine test... Read More


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    I think a medical personnel we tend to disclose TMI ourselves. I know I do! My husband constantly tells me I don't have to tell my employer certain things. But asking if you have "genital herpes"? How is that going to effect the way you do your job?! I can understand questions about back injuries, etc. Most of your medical history is not relevant to job performance. The number of surgeries I've had in the last 20 years does not have any bearing on my job performance now. I have not been asked about my past medical history on job applications excepting back injuries, drug and alcohol abuse, sometimes history of certain mental illnesses (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders). Maybe I've been lucky!!
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    I do see the risk in the information being used in ways it should not be. Add one to the list of thorns shoved under our fingernails by administration.

    On the other hand, I have to admit, I do see its value. I was talking to a phlebotomist who had just finished working a double because there were so many call offs in her department. She was about to start AM lab draws on my wing, and she had just come from another wing in which the nurses were stressing the assignments for the next shift because there were so many call offs.

    At my hospital, the phlebotomy dept. and the unit she had been on before mine are well known for being flooded with FLMA abusers. On the nursing unit, the nurses rarely get to work with the reg. ratios because, well......they have too many call offs, too many for the rest of the hospital to cover. The phleb. dept. also has its issues that are well known, many people work OT, others call off frequently, making for a very tired crew.

    FLMA has its place and things it does right, but, too many people abuse it. Its a joke now, a shadow of what it was meant to be. And these extensive physicals by our employers is their answer to our co-workers who do so. If shortly after being hired, you go on FMLA, and the condition was not mentioned in your questionnaire......well, good luck in your future job search.

    I gotta admit, being one of the reliable workers who shows up and suffers when people abuse FMLA, if these "TMI" physicals cut down on the number of co-workers around me who have it............good. Ask me all the questions you want.
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    Quote from eriksoln
    FLMA has its place and things it does right, but, too many people abuse it. Its a joke now, a shadow of what it was meant to be.
    Weird. I was talking to a friend of mine from my former corporate job, and I was talking about how many absenteeism questions I got on my phone interview for a nursing position. She was as perplexed as I on how much focus there was on that.

    Ok, so tell me. Why is that a focus when looking for nursing jobs? What is it about nursing that makes hiring people so concerned about call offs. Are the nursing call offs legitimate due to needing "mental health days" for stress or are they a cultural consideration within the industry?
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    Quote from dudette10
    Weird. I was talking to a friend of mine from my former corporate job, and I was talking about how many absenteeism questions I got on my phone interview for a nursing position. She was as perplexed as I on how much focus there was on that.

    Ok, so tell me. Why is that a focus when looking for nursing jobs? What is it about nursing that makes hiring people so concerned about call offs. Are the nursing call offs legitimate due to needing "mental health days" for stress or are they a cultural consideration within the industry?
    Yes, absenteeism is an epic problem in nursing. When I interview for a job (used to travel nurse and basically would do interviews every 13 weeks, from one assignment to the next), when the "reliability" question comes up, I say this (and its true):

    "There are two groups you have on every nursing unit. You have the group that calls off frequently, needs constant accommodations and never likes their schedule vs. the group who does the majority of the accommodating, rarely calls off and is flexible. There is no middle ground it seems. I am in the later group."

    Why the focus? Well, it doesn't take too many call offs to throw things into chaos. There are only so many PRN staff to go around each shift. Its hard enough staffing a hospital if your workforce is reliable much less with people abusing FMLA.

    Consider what has to be considered with one call off: A nurse calls off from the..........IDK, Cardiac Step Down unit. First, getting a replacement must be done. But, you have to consider if the replacement is qualified for a cardiac unit, can't just take the M/S nurse who otherwise was going home for low census and put them there. If you do use someone not tele trained, then it throws the pt. assignments off completely for the unit, because they can only take patients not on drips. You also have to consider where you are getting the help from. An ICU nurse could do it.............but is the ER busy and if so, how many might need to go to the ICU? Calling an agency nurse and requesting a tele trained nurse would solve things, but what if one is not avail.? They are more expensive to boot too............so every time this is done, it affects the budget and in turn the annual raises (no raises means poor moral which leads to call offs).

    That is just one call off on one shift. Now, deal with 8 or 9 of these every eight hours. I can see where it'd get old, really fast. If more detailed physicals leads to less of an attendance problem and lessens the number of FMLA workers, I'm going to have a hard time being critical of it.
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    Quote from eriksoln
    Why the focus? Well, it doesn't take too many call offs to throw things into chaos. There are only so many PRN staff to go around each shift. Its hard enough staffing a hospital if your workforce is reliable much less with people abusing FMLA.
    I completely get why call offs would cause a problem for shift work. I guess my question is "bigger." Why do nurses call off so much that it would be a focus in a screening interview? The reason my former corporate coworker and I were perplexed is that calling off was almost unheard of in the Cubicle Land. You needed a day off? You planned for it, and it was granted.

    Maybe calling off wouldn't be so much of a problem if nurses were granted the days off they requested by making sure enough registry people were in the pipeline?

    ETA: Is it a "cultural" thing, meaning that within the nursing culture, calling off is considered a norm?
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
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    Quote from eriksoln
    If more detailed physicals leads to less of an attendance problem and lessens the number of FMLA workers, I'm going to have a hard time being critical of it.
    If FMLA is being abused (using it where it's not needed), how does a more detailed physical solve the problem?
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    Quote from dudette10
    I completely get why call offs would cause a problem for shift work. I guess my question is "bigger." Why do nurses call off so much that it would be a focus in a screening interview? The reason my former corporate coworker and I were perplexed is that calling off was almost unheard of in the Cubicle Land. You needed a day off? You planned for it, and it was granted.

    Maybe calling off wouldn't be so much of a problem if nurses were granted the days off they requested by making sure enough registry people were in the pipeline?

    ETA: Is it a "cultural" thing, meaning that within the nursing culture, calling off is considered a norm?
    Oh, sorry. English Comp. 101 is a prereq. for nursing, how did I lose it so quickly?

    <_<
    >_>

    Yes, your question is much bigger. And so is what my opinion on what the problem is. Its many different things working together TBH.

    1. Nursing was and, even in this economy, is a very popular "second income". Lots of people go into nursing part time so the family has some "get over the hump" income. By default, this means the nursing job is #2 on the priority list, as much as the facility the nurse is working for likes to think they are the alpha and omega of said nurse's existence. If the spouse needs to go in and childcare can't be obtained...........the nurse is the one that calls off. If a family trip is being planned and can't be accommodated on the schedule...........no bother, just call off.........it is the "second income" anyway.

    2. Passive aggression. Lots of nurses walking around with this "I'm going to teach them a lesson (meaning management/admin.)" mentality. They don't help out when flexibility is needed from them, and call off at the drop of a hot without any conscience of what it does to their co-workers, all the while telling themselves "Its managements problem, if they don't like it, they can do their jobs better and learn to fix it." Nurses have been talking/complaining about the same staffing/schedule issues for generations, but nothing has changed. Seems they (management/admin.) aren't getting the point or learning their lesson [tongue in cheek].

    3. Stress. All careers that deal with the public are stressful. I'm comfortable in saying nursing is one of the most stressful. There is often a need for, as you put it I believe, "mental health days". This is relative though and ties into my former assertion that "there is the crowd that needs constant accommodation and the crowd that constantly accommodates, no in between." I've taken mental days, but in my almost six years of nursing.........I've probably taken a total of 4 of them. There are nurses who take that many in a month.

    4. Poor management/administrative approaches. We walk into nursing, eyes wide open, knowing we are going to sacrifice holidays, weekends and stability. Admin's attitude towards nurses regarding the difficult schedules they work has been "Oh well, it's the career path you picked" for a long time. It goes without saying, a workforce that has to cover nights, weekends, holidays etc......is going to be looking to make their own holidays and weekends when they can. It also goes without saying, the if you pay your workforce less, have poor work conditions and offer 2nd rate benefits............the desire and sense of duty to be present when it's your time to work a holiday/weekend diminishes. The "Oh well" attitude of healthcare leadership is responded to with an equally obtuse "Oh well" when people call off. As you can see, #2 and 4 are in cooperation with one another.

    There is probably more to it, but I think these are the main points that lead to attendance being such an issue in nursing.
    DizzyLizzyNurse and dudette10 like this.
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    Quote from dudette10
    If FMLA is being abused (using it where it's not needed), how does a more detailed physical solve the problem?
    I was discussing this with the phlebotomist I mentioned before. I think I said it in the orig. post.

    If you go on FMLA for a condition that you marked "No" to on the questionnaire part of the physical, you had better hope your doctor's documentation provides for it being viewed as a new onset health issue and not one that was preexisting. Otherwise, you lied and are fired. One less person on FMLA to contend with.
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    I don't think it does the comprehensive physical is going to stop calling out. It all comes down to a sense of reponsibility and committment. If you know it's a holiday weekend and it's your turn to work- than work or switch with some one. Acute care nursing goes on 24/7. There are quite a few I have worked with that call out just because it's a holiday- has nothing to do with illness. Take note- who are the nurses calling out and the age group. I don't think alot of the call outs are from the 50 and over crowd. I know alot of 50 and over nurses who drag their sick behinds in work( and shouldn't be there but are)- myself included. It's a sense of commitment and responsibilty.
    As far as the FMLA goes- Maybe that's the unit managers problem. The FMLA isn't that for only specific reasons and don't you have to have documentation of such. You could have a perfectly healthy employee- but they always seem to come up with some reason to call out. I have worked with one who called out so many times to attend a 'funeral'- by my count- this person should be orphaned by now. Her family must be dropping dead like flies. Or some ones lacing the drinking water( and she is under 50) I and 1-2 others have had to pickup the slack for her and her little black dress. It's called work ethic. There is a definate different work ethic in the age groups- sorry.


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