Calling in sick, staffing issues - page 3

by staffing24

9,291 Unique Views | 34 Comments

Hi there! I work in staffing for an LTC facility. I am also working on pre-reqs to get into an RN program. What is bothering me is the frequency of nurses calling in sick. Many of our nurses call in sick once a month (or... Read More


  1. 2
    Quote from not.done.yet
    How hard does the facility make it to take a PTO day in advance? I am dismayed to find at my current position that taking a day of PTO requires nothing short of a miracle. There is always a claim of being too short staffed to allow it. But we have not hired anyone and the staffing ratios are what they are, all the time.

    As long as people aren't allowed to plan ahead for days off they are going to be left with no choice but to use their PTO as call-outs.
    My first year at my LTC facility I was allowed a week off (not paid as I opted for the no benefits/PTO). I didn't take that week AND I worked extra shifts (even shifts not on 'my' time) and I came in earlier so that the nurse I'd be replacing could leave early for whatever reason and I stayed late to cover for the oncoming nurse (we aren't talking 1/2 an hour we are taking several hours).

    Toward the end of my 2nd full year (again, I hadn't taken my week off for this year either and continued to work extra shifts, go in early and stay late) I had requested that I be given a week off vacation (which in actuality was only 2 days as I only work 2 days a week). I made the request FIVE months prior in writing and in person to the person who approved time off/PTO(due to me having made the flight reservations and booked the hotel for me and my family). I was told he would 'try' to get me that time off but couldn't guarentee it! WHAT?! You're getting FIVE MONTHS notice. You better figure it out and get me those TWO days off (and it was a week not even during the busy vacation times nor did the time include a weekend shift). Told him...look...I'm NOT going to be here on XXX days...be that either by YOU giving me that time off or me TAKING it..but either way, know that I will NOT be here.
    wooh and joanna73 like this.
  2. 6
    I work at a union facility and we have a sick time bank (separate from vacation time). I accrue 4.5 hours of sick time every two weeks. As long as we have the sick time available we can call in. Anything over two consecutive days requires a doctors note. But, if I collected enough sick time in my bank, I could call in once a week for a year and there is absolutely nothing management could do about it. Many nurses do this. My own policy is that I make sure to have about a week worth of sick time in my bank in case of true sickness. Once I get eight hours over this, I call in. So, yes, I do call in about once a month. I feel zero guilt. This is time I have EARNED and am entitled to use however and whenever I want. One of the many advantages to working in a union.
    TheCommuter, LTCNS, imintrouble, and 3 others like this.
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    Working in Nursing seems to be, IMO, very conducive for call ins. There is high stress everyday in most nursing jobs. I think some nurses think it is better to call in than quit. And I guess they are right.
    redhead_NURSE98!, LTCNS, KelRN215, and 1 other like this.
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    I work the skilled re-hab side in LTC. I have been there for 8 months. We do 5 eight hour shifts. I work midnights. We get some very sick patients...like others have said, patients who seem too sick to be there. It is stressful and a very heavy work load. I have been sick more since I started working there than ever before. I've had upper respiratory infections, bladder infections (holding that pee!), pink eye, stomach virus, etc... I always wash my hands, and wear gloves into every room I go into. I am saying don't be too quick to judge. Why do most people assume you aren't really sick when you call off? Some people do get sick more often than others. I don't feel comfortable taking care of very sick people when I am ill. Having said that, I have worked when I did not feel well, and probably should not have been there. I hate to leave my facility short-staffed. I have worked and asked someone else to take the more acute patients for me, while I took some that were less vulnerable to illness. It is very easy to point a finger and judge if you are fortunate enough not to get ill very often. When you are in the position of deciding whether or not to go to work sick, risking making patients and co-workers sick, missing a days pay, and having managment angry at you...it's not so easy. I also fear making an error if I am ill and not as sharp-minded as I need to be. It really is a no-win situation.
    SHGR, wooh, and mudd68 like this.
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    Quote from Ginger's Mom
    Nursing is unforgiving,if you are sick and make an error, you could hurt a patient.In other jobs you want to leave early for an appointment no problem ,nursing forget it call out it is easier.
    Truer words have not been spoken.

    (Did I quote this right??) Y'all know what I mean as this poster said it well.
    wooh likes this.
  6. 4
    Quote from chevyv
    Many staff call in sick at my facility because they have tried in the past to get a day off and staffing denied. After so many denials to use personal, vacation, or holiday time, people just started to call in sick. Sometimes staffing just refuses to work with nurses and support staff and this is what happens.
    I found this to be VERY true when I worked inpatient. Our "requests" were usually due for the schedule about 4-6 weeks before it came out but it happened very frequently that the schedule didn't actually come out until DAYS before it started. So, if I tell the scheduler and the manager on August 1st that I need September 15th off, the schedule comes out on September 10th and they have me on September 15th, guess what? I told you six weeks ago I needed this day off so why should I inconvenience myself to look for a switch? You knew I couldn't work and you signed me up anyway, so I feel no remorse in calling out.

    I left my hospital job earlier this year and something like this basically happened... our requests for the schedule beginning either the last week of March or the first week of April were due in late Feb. At the time, I was looking for a new job but hadn't received any offers yet. After the requests were due but before the schedule was out, I gave my notice. I was nice and gave them 4 weeks (which they request) even though at the time, the schedule that started 10 days from that time wasn't done. Well, they turned around and completely screwed me on that schedule and put me on a 12 hr day shift on the ONE DAY I had requested off because of a very important doctor's appointment. My manager was fully aware of my medical conditions and the fact that I needed to see an endocrinologist q 6 months. I was mad that I was put on that day but didn't want to call out because that would have meant 12 fewer hours of PTO that I'd get paid out for after my last day. I am certain that calling out was what they wanted me to do... anything to save a dollar at that place. Rescheduling this appointment would have been a nightmare. Fortunately, my MD was directly across the street from my hospital so I went in that day and said "I'm leaving at 10:30 for an hour to go to my doctor's appointment" and that was that. But they did this to people all.the.time. which led to people calling out regularly.

    My mother is not a nurse but a teacher and recently told me that her superintendent is now not allowing teachers to take personal days on Mondays or Fridays because "too many young people were calling out to get 3 day weekends." She told me this and I thought that was the most backwards reasoning I had ever heard... if people are giving you advance notice and saying "I cannot work on October 15th", you have time to find a sub. If you deny them their personal day and they call you at 5am on October 15th and say "I won't be in today", you could be up the creek without a paddle.

    Service professions are crazy in that they give you a ton of time off (way more than your average business professional) but they don't ever want you to actually use it or they only want you to use it at a time that's convenient for them. My former employer would also get mad if no one wanted to use their PTO on a day when census was low... you won't let me have the one day of the month off that I requested but you want me to stay home and twiddle my thumbs on a random Tuesday?
    SHGR, wooh, mudd68, and 1 other like this.
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    I don't resent anyone taking a day off (calling in sick) when I do the same thing. Life happens. What I resent is my employer using that absence to save money and not call in help. That upsets me. Especially when you talk to nurses the next day that announce nobody called them to pick up an extra shift.
    wooh and KelRN215 like this.
  8. 0
    This is exactly why I had to leave my LTC job full time after 'only' 8 months. I am now PRN there. I was initially hired as a new grad for a new program on the skilled medicare units where I was promised only 10 -12 patients tops. At first, when this was happening, I LOVED IT. I learned so much about my patients, had time to spend with them, etc. Never felt too stressed (there was always the occasionally issue) However, our company quickly diminished this program and it turned into one nurse taking TWO hallways of patients that were very acute and strangely (I thought) HUGE fall risks. I was caring for 20+ patients spread between two halls with call lights and bed alarms going off every five seconds, not to mention at least one admit everyday (plus a d'c or two) plus regular treatments. I would almost have anxiety attacks before shifts not knowing what I was going to get into that day. Some days I'd have an admit, d'c, then a fall or some other emergency. Plus I was in school. I ended up having to drop my classes for this job and now am a semester behind getting into an RN program. I never called in but I thought about it daily. This was also a facility with 8 hour shifts on a ROTATING schedule which was just the worst thing ever. I'd work 7 days with only one day off (usually work 3 off 1 work 4). I felt like I was always there. I had nightmares about work. I completely understand why nurses call in so much. Now I make sure that when they call me for PRN shifts that it is not the skilled units. I won't put myself in that much stress again. I only say ok to LTC shifts.
    Additionally, this LTC facility is in a 'nice' part of town and therefore we attract residents and families with higher and more often, unrealistic expectations. I have had families chew me out for responding to an emergency with another patient when their family member needed something insignificant (fresh water does not take prescedent over a fallen patient)
  9. 0
    This is precisely why I am thrilled to pieces that the little "mom and pop" LTC home I worked at years ago, who rarely has nursing and CNA turnover, has an opening for a LPN. Someone must have retired or moved on. I am praying with everything I have in me that I get called for an interview and hired. It's not day shift but I will take it regardless if offered. It's a great place to work.
  10. 2
    You work to get paid. You do not "deserve" to call out simply because you have accrued enough time. Sometimes we say no to a requested day off because several people working the same unit and the same shift requested the day off BEFORE you did. If that day off is granted, the rest of your co-workers will be working short. But you don't care since it's not about them or the residents....it's all about what you want.
    redhead_NURSE98! and sls73 like this.


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