Working while sick! - page 2

This is gnawing at me and I don't know what to do! There is a policy at our LTCF that if you're sick, you have to find your own replacement. I was sick one nite a couple of months ago and ended... Read More

  1. by   banditrn
    I just left that LTCF!! In the 6 months I worked there, I missed one nite, and that was because I was throwing my insides up! As usual, I tried to find a replacement - no one will do it - the DON was unavailable, as usual, so I finally called the administrator. She did take care of it by having evenings stay over and days come in early.

    I felt bad for them, having to do that, but was able to pay the evening nurse back a couple of weeks later when her kid got hurt, and I went in and worked the last half of her shift.

    The reason I got sick to begin with was because a CNA came in, throwing up, and spread it to me, and a couple of the residents. She had tried to call someone, as usual, but no one would do it - so she came on in. I was irritated with her - and talked to her about spreading germs around to all us old folks - but I was also irritated with the policy of a place that has all their employees too scared to take a sick day. I expressed my displeasure to the DON about that policy once again, because even tho, I only missed one nite, I felt bad for a whole week.

    I don't have a problem with people trying to find a replacement - and I understand that some people ABUSE sick call! In that case, get rid of them.
  2. by   Lacie
    When I did scheduling for my unit we all took a night of "unofficial" on-call incase someone called in or for an emergency that someone was unable to make a shift (death in family, car accident, sick children etc.). I just went down the line and everyone knew if you were listed for that night then dont make major plans. It worked out very well as this way a nurse didnt have to break her back or beg getting someone to cover the shift. But they did have to give at least a 2 hour notification. Crap happens not only illnesses that keep someone home beyond thier control. I would rather a sick nurse not come in then end up with 1/2 my staff or myself out for a week or worse yet bringing something into our patients whom are already compromised.
  3. by   ns lpn
    We've had LPN's and Rn's who've had to stay sick b/c no one could come in and it burns my ass we have such a shortage of casual nurses that the ones we do have get to pick and choose what they want b/c if they leave there is no shift coverage. A few weeks ago one of the LPN's left after working the last half of her shift very ill, she went to emergency when she left and was hospitalized. Some of the casuals are so overworked because they won't say no when they should (not that management minds that) and the others just don't answer their phones. I don't know what the solution is but boy I wish there was one.
  4. by   augigi
    Quote from ingelein
    OMG! Where is the HUMANITY? Nurses really, UNIONIZE!
    I don't mean to be rude, but I don't think this has anything to do with unions. It seems to be more related to the needs of the unit and the attitude of the particular nurse in charge. Regardless of whether you have a union, you get DONs/charge nurses who tell you to go in regardless of whether you are sick.
  5. by   ns lpn
    I agree with Augigi. Our facility is unionized and I doubt their is anything that the union could do when there is no one else to work.
  6. by   flashpoint
    We're expected to come in if we are sick and can't find a replacement. The worst part is that we are short staffed already...everyone is working 48-60 hours a week. We literally have no one to come in if someone gets sick. Today, I worked with just me and a CNA from 0600-1800...it will be just the CNA and the evening charge nurse until 2200. The DON's argument was that since it is Sunday and there are no baths that the two of us should have been able to handle the 20 residents. The administrator told us to call the DON and tell her she had to come in...when we tried, the DON didn't answer her phone. It is probably better that the DON didn't come in...she rarely works the floor and when she does, she has the med aide do her meds...and she NEVER fills a CNA position.
  7. by   barbyann
    I have told the story here before....finding smoke coming out of my basement as I was on the way out the door to work. Got family out, called 911, firemen arrive with full gear to put out fire, condemn my house, I call the supervisor and tell her my house is on fire, her response "Just get here when you can". OMG, I said "I'm homeless", she said "OK, come at eleven then". I can laugh now but it really hurt to be treated so poorly.

    And there is an answer, its not rocket science. Have paid on-call staff to cover sick calls . We used to have a float pool but it was abused, they would book that staff weeks in advance to cover vacations. It is never OK to go to work sick and contagious. My rule of thumb is if I have a fever I dont go.
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    I disagree with a policy of making people find their own replacement...that is what a manager is for, and an employee is far more likely to tell a co-worker "No, I'm not coming in for you", than to a manager who is in a position of authority.

    My grandma used to keep a log of nurses that called in and she looked for patterns...like every Friday, Mondays, the day before or after a scheduled day off or other holiday. Only the employees that were clearly abusing the system were penalized by having to find their own replacements, or come to the hospital to be examined by a doctor there.

    The honest folks didn't have to worry about it.
  9. by   Plagueis
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I disagree with a policy of making people find their own replacement...that is what a manager is for
    I totally agree. It is not my responsibility for staffing; that is what the manager, supervisor, or scheduler is for. Workplaces should take into account that everyone gets sick, and that if they don't want the illness to spread, the employee should call out.
  10. by   cheshirecat
    Nurses are human. Do we not merit the same compassion we give to our patients. If a nurse is sick the last thing she needs to do is find a replacement for her shift. Those DONS' need to hang their heads in shame at expecting sick nurses to come into work.
  11. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from barbyann
    I have told the story here before....finding smoke coming out of my basement as I was on the way out the door to work. Got family out, called 911, firemen arrive with full gear to put out fire, condemn my house, I call the supervisor and tell her my house is on fire, her response "Just get here when you can". OMG, I said "I'm homeless", she said "OK, come at eleven then". I can laugh now but it really hurt to be treated so poorly.

    And there is an answer, its not rocket science. Have paid on-call staff to cover sick calls . We used to have a float pool but it was abused, they would book that staff weeks in advance to cover vacations. It is never OK to go to work sick and contagious. My rule of thumb is if I have a fever I dont go.
    That is horrible! I can't believe she did that.

    I posted this in another thread, but when my brother was in a horrible car accident (at the time my father called me we still didn't know if he was alive or dead), I went on to work instead of calling them and told them I had to leave right away and drive 5 hours back home to be with my father.

    They told me it was my brother, not me, and she told me to start working and to wait. I went straight ever her head to her boss, I just walked away, didn't even continue the conversation and I told her what happened and said, "My father lost his wife of 52 years just last year, and I need to be there for my father, I have to go, and I'll call you next week to see if I still have a job." ...and I just kept walking and left the building.

    They fussed about it when I got back, but I still had my job. I stayed gone for a week because my brother had a business we had to figure out how to run, and the hospital was over an hour from where we lived, so somebody, had to be at the house.

    You get people that call out over a paper cut, and when a true emergency happens, they flip out over it.
  12. by   banditrn
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    That is horrible! I can't believe she did that.

    I posted this in another thread, but when my brother was in a horrible car accident (at the time my father called me we still didn't know if he was alive or dead), I went on to work instead of calling them and told them I had to leave right away and drive 5 hours back home to be with my father.

    They told me it was my brother, not me, and she told me to start working and to wait. I went straight ever her head to her boss, I just walked away, didn't even continue the conversation and I told her what happened and said, "My father lost his wife of 52 years just last year, and I need to be there for my father, I have to go, and I'll call you next week to see if I still have a job." ...and I just kept walking and left the building.

    They fussed about it when I got back, but I still had my job. I stayed gone for a week because my brother had a business we had to figure out how to run, and the hospital was over an hour from where we lived, so somebody, had to be at the house.

    You get people that call out over a paper cut, and when a true emergency happens, they flip out over it.
    That's rotten, and instead of the support and compassion you needed, all you got was a bunch of crap. Something similar happened to a co-worker - she was at work when she got the call about her father - the admin was there, who was a nurse, but she didn't want the nurse to leave - instead she wanted HER to call around and try to get someone to come in to replace her. She didn't do it.
  13. by   ebony2
    I just don't know why the use of these strong arm tactics continue to exist in LTC. There is no respect for the people working on the floor from nurse to CNA. You don't get support from supervisors to DON. Maybe it's because as a group we have no representation. No clout. No one seems interested in US as a integral part of the work force. Many moons ago when I first started to practice nursing, EVERY NURSE KNEW, you don't leave unless your replacement relieves you. In LTC this is a dirty word. When your 8 or 12 is over many nurses are out the door and who is left to cover the floor is up to someone else. Nurses are not vested in helping out. Maybe it's because of these kinds of reponses when they are in need, "Its your problem", "Find your own replacement" and "Wear an incontinent brief but get your a__ in here, for God's sake. Until we can give respect to others and receive it in return, facilities will continue to reap what they sow. For the DON who solves the problem by using a broad brush approach to evaluate the problems of a few, instead of addressing the frequent callers individually, will continue to wonder who has a beach day concern vs. a real illness. Job or no job, nurses like all other professions get sick, and I for one refuse to subject frail, elderly residents with health problems that could heve been avoided. My approach will continue to be I am ill and cannot report to work today.

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