Excessive absenteeism

  1. I'm one of three members of nurse management at a LTC. We take turns being on call and have been covering sick calls when nobody can be found to come in. The staff nurses work 12-hour shifts and we are fully-staffed.

    The amount of absenteeism is absolutely ridiculous. I'm on call this weekend. This morning I went to work at 6:00 am and at 1:00 pm the night shift nurse called in sick. Because of two IVs that have to be administered tomorrow morning, I was already scheduled to be at work from 6am - 9am tomorrow. I was not about to come home and get 3-4 hours of sleep and then go back in and work 6p - 9a.

    One of the nurses working day shift today is one of our frequent absentees. She has called in 9 times in the past 4 months. Management had to cover one of her shifts over the past weekend and this Tuesday. I mandated her to work a 16-hour shift today, and she proceeded to call the DON who worked a 12-hour shift to cover for a different absentee last night. She woke him up when he'd only had 3 hours of sleep in 48 hours due to covering for sick calls. She said she was refusing to work until 10:00 and he told her that if nobody could come in and cover for her, we weren't giving her a choice. We've already hired another nurse to replace her and will let her go soon.

    All of the management in this LTC is new and we've been a bit too lenient. We're cracking down and this is our first time mandating anybody to stay.

    Has anybody here had any success dealing with absenteeism? The facility did not have an absentee policy in place and we're putting out a new employee handbook soon and including a new absentee policy which assigns points. 15 points in 6 months is automatic termination. One unexcused absence is 5 points, plus there will be points for being late, and a nurse can erase points by picking up a shift when someone calls in sick. Keeping our fingers crossed.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   CapeCodMermaid
    It's the same everywhere. People have no sense of responsibility to their jobs. I worked in a place where the CNAs were in a union. We couldn't even write them up until they had at least 15 tardies! Who in the world signed that contract had rocks for brains.
    My favorite is someone who calls out because they are 'very sick' and then posts something on Facebook about the rave or the show they attended.
  4. by   stella789
    That always boggles my mind when a facility, a place of business, has no absenteeism policy. I think the points system sounds legit, hope it works out. I know my mom has a points system at both of her jobs and tardies are also included.

    This is one fear I had taking a management position was constantly having to cover shifts. The ADON position I just accepted doesn't seem to have this issue and there will be supervisors under me so hopefully I won't need to cover like that.

    But capecod I agree, I don't understand why people can't just be an adult. You're the one that chose to go out drinking or whatever, own up to it or don't do it when you know you have to work. A never ending battle I know
  5. by   amoLucia
    How about a positive reward program for good attendance? Like some reward points for food coupons or some designated time-off?
  6. by   SICUmurseCCRN
    where i work you are allowed to call out no more than 2 times in 3 months, which would be 8 times a year. even this seems like a lot to me especially when we are only working 3 12hour shifts a week. on top of that we have very generous PTO(paid time off) program so nurses really should only be calling out in an emergency or if they are truly sick. i do not work in management but i think you need to establish a policy and stick to it. if people are breaking the policy they need to know they will be given a warning then written up and eventually can be let go because of it. in my opinion i do not think there should be a reward for attendance when dealing with working adult professionals.
  7. by   smartnurse1982
    Quote from amoLucia
    How about a positive reward program for good attendance? Like some reward points for food coupons or some designated time-off?
    Nobody should be rewarded just for showing up.

    That might cause some workers to come in sick.
  8. by   Nascar nurse
    Personally, I've got no time to play with a point system. Seems just to much work. 3 tardies = 1 absence, _X__ amt of absence = verbal, then __X_ amt = 1st written and so on until termination. I like to use a rolling calendar so absences do fall off the grid.

    Trust me, you'll likely have to terminate one or two but then word gets out that you mean what you say and everyone else straightens right out.
  9. by   DawnadonRN
    Quote from amoLucia
    How about a positive reward program for good attendance? Like some reward points for food coupons or some designated time-off?
    My facility does this. If you have no tardiness or call ins in a 6 month period, you are in the running for a prize we don't give away many prizes.
  10. by   amoLucia
    Quote from DawnadonRN
    My facility does this. If you have no tardiness or call ins in a 6 month period, you are in the running for a prize we don't give away many prizes.
    Yeah - a real generous facility! I know the kind.

    Is it any wonder that when a place doesn't put sincere thought & caring into a promo, then the promo isn't thought much of by the staff either.
  11. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Quote from amoLucia
    Yeah - a real generous facility! I know the kind.

    Is it any wonder that when a place doesn't put sincere thought & caring into a promo, then the promo isn't thought much of by the staff either.
    I think DawnadonRN meant that there aren't many people who make it 6 months without calling out.
    I worked for a few places on Cape Cod that gave a bonus for people who didn't cal out. At one place we got an extra 50 cents an hour for every hour we worked between Memorial Day and the 4th of July and then from the 4th till Labor Day. I liked it because I very very rarely call out. I also worked for a company that had a rather convoluted absence policy because the 'clock' reset every quarter. You had a certain number of call outs. The chronic caller outers knew how to play the system and keep very close track of their absences. Once they hit the magic number, they'd stop calling out until the end of the quarter.
    The newest trend, at least around here, is to have one of the managers cover a shift if someone has called out. Frankly I think it's preposterous for the DNS to push a cart to cover a call out. If there were consequences for calling out, fewer people would do it.
  12. by   DawnadonRN
    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    I think DawnadonRN meant that there aren't many people who make it 6 months without calling out.
    I worked for a few places on Cape Cod that gave a bonus for people who didn't cal out. At one place we got an extra 50 cents an hour for every hour we worked between Memorial Day and the 4th of July and then from the 4th till Labor Day. I liked it because I very very rarely call out. I also worked for a company that had a rather convoluted absence policy because the 'clock' reset every quarter. You had a certain number of call outs. The chronic caller outers knew how to play the system and keep very close track of their absences. Once they hit the magic number, they'd stop calling out until the end of the quarter.
    The newest trend, at least around here, is to have one of the managers cover a shift if someone has called out. Frankly I think it's preposterous for the DNS to push a cart to cover a call out. If there were consequences for calling out, fewer people would do it.
    Yes, that's what I mewnt. Our prizes are wonderful, however, no one ever makes it the 6 months without a call in?
  13. by   amoLucia
    Mea culpa! I truly misinterpreted Dawndon's post. I was guessing that her place was stingy being on some type of lottery for the few who would make the 6 month cut.

    I've worked stingy places who would raffle some simple item to all the possible eligibles. The gifts were nothing special and all the other eligible were left out.

    And I've worked where $$bonuses were promised after a certain time. But they never materialized - honest, I do know 2 people right off hand that made the bonuses but got pffft. They would inquire but got the old "next payroll" or "Corp has to cut the prize checks". After a while, the staff got tired of holding their breath and the incentive failed to entice anyone anymore. But the facility bragged about the program.
  14. by   DawnadonRN
    Our director buys the prize out of his own wallet. It's honestly a great facility. Just too many people that don't want to work.

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