Sick call policy

  1. 0 Hi everyone,

    I am a Nursing Director at a very small rural facility. Our professional staff is also limited, and we do not have a pool to draw from, so when we have sick call ins it really impacts on remaining staff. Do any of you out there have policies that require staff calling in sick on their weekend to work to make up that weekend time to releive the staff that covered for them?

    We have never such a policy, but are seriously considering it, I am sure that there will be strong opposition and any policy relative to this topic that you would be willing to share I would be most grateful for. We are not union, but the staff does have a committee that reviews personnel issuses and petitions administration for wages etc.

    Thank you

  2. 77 Comments

  3. by   kdhnursern
    #1 0
    At our facility, if staff calls in sick on the weekend, they have to work the next weekend, which would be their days off. We still have trouble with call-ins, but I don't know of anything that would cure that.
    I'm hoping to find some ideas from this thread, THX.
  4. by   bandaidexpert
    #2 0
    goldgram: Is there a reason you don't have a pool? We instituted the weekend call off rule about a year ago. It has been very effective, however, call offs happen. We have a list of pool staff that are only pool. When we placed the add, we were skeptical, but we now have 11 CNA's and 10 nurses that are pool only. This has helped so much. Most of the pool staff work other jobs or are seasonal residents. Good luck
  5. by   KlareRN
    #3 0
    We also use the "if you call in sick on the weekend you are required to work the next weekend" policy. The catch is that the staff are informed upon hire that when they work the following weekend- it is on the shift where they are needed most- not necessarily the shift they usually work. There is no excuses accepted (i.e. "I don't have a second shift babysitter, etc....). This has helped with call ins.
    My company also has a rural facility with no pool to pull from. We have run ads and have gotten nothing and our licenced staff is now down to a bare minimum. The nurse management team rotates on a "short call" program where they try to cover any call ins for the weekend. If he/she finds nobody- unfortunately he/she has to work on the floor to cover the shift. It stinks-but somebody has to cover the shifts. The nurses have already said that if we go to mandatory overtime or require the Monday-Friday nurses pick up an occassional weekend- they will quit. The nurses in northern Indiana know that they can pretty much walk out today at 1:00pm and have a full time job by 2:00pm. Thank goodness we have some fantastic nurse managers that go above and beyond to care for our residents.
  6. by   OC_An Khe
    #4 1
    I am reading the posts to the above thread and am really amazed that such bizarre and antiquated working conditions still exist today. I call in sick so you punish me for being sick by making me work the next week end? We are supposed to be caring for the sick not punishng them.
    There are many ways to handle this situation without resorting to the the above disfunctional policy.
  7. by   kmchugh
    #5 4
    As I read through this thread, I realized that the only thing left in nursing that suprises me it that there are people who cannot understand why there is a shortage of nurses. People who cannot fathom why young men and women in college are choosing other professions. People who cannot comprehend why nurses are leaving the profession in droves. Enough reason is right here, in this thread, in a nice neat package.

    The fundamental question is "how do I punish my employees for having the temerity to be ill on a weekend? Certainly they can plan better than that!" Look at what you all, who are nurses, for God's sake, have said:

    "At our facility, if staff calls in sick on the weekend, they have to work the next weekend, which would be their days off. We still have trouble with call-ins, but I don't know of anything that would cure that."

    "We instituted the weekend call off rule about a year ago. It has been very effective, however, call offs happen."

    "We also use the "if you call in sick on the weekend you are required to work the next weekend" policy. The catch is that the staff are informed upon hire that when they work the following weekend- it is on the shift where they are needed most- not necessarily the shift they usually work. There is no excuses accepted (i.e. "I don't have a second shift babysitter, etc....). This has helped with call ins."

    Apparently, you all are proud of the fact that your draconian policies are forcing nurses to work when sick, and consequences to the nurses, their families, or even the patients be damned. You are apparently proceeding from the assumption that all weekend call ins are bogus. In fact, some might be, but that in no way excuses your behavior. If you can prove a nurse has called off sick fraudulently, then punish that nurse. But proactive punishment of ALL nurses?

    I am sure you are not, but all of you should be ashamed to claim the title "nurse."

    Kevin McHugh, CRNA
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    #6 1
    I am with Kevin! I can scarcely believe my eyes here. I have a few questions for you managers:

    Do any of you have young children? Do any of your facilities provide onsite day care/nightcare? How about for SICK KIDS? If you had a sick kid, would you stick him/her in a daycare situation? (I would NOT). Has any of you not been able to make it to work for ANY REASON AT ALL? ANY reason? Was IT legitimate, really??? DO ANY OF YOU HAVE LIVES?

    These are sincere questions, though they may SOUND tongue-in-cheek. Questions from a staffer who works almost exclusively weekends and is married to military. Cause things happen. I rarely call in sick, but when I DO you BEST BELIEVE IT IS LEGIT. My husband deploys, my kids get sick....who watches kids from 6p to 8a on WEEKENDS????

    You need to rethink your punitive policies if you expect to retain quality regular staff, let alone recruit BACKUP! Shame on all of you! I would be gone before the next weekend if you treated ME that way, honestly. Just my 0.2 from an ordinary staff R.N. with a LIFE.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jun 23, '02
  9. by   LilgirlRN
    #7 1
    This is a policy at my hospital too, you call in on the weekend, you gotta work the next one. The poor floor nurses can be put anywhere in the house that is short when they do their "make up" shift. My hospital bit off it's own nose to spite it's face when they took away our 7 on 7 off. With that staffing plan youhave to work the weekend or you wouldnt get your time and a half for those 2 shifts. They got rid of that and made us do 12 hour shifts instead, now people call in whenever, partly because they know how short staffed we are and they can make it up anytime (im not talking about calling in on the weekend). When I first started doing 7 on 7 off, you worked 56 got paid for 72, anything worked on your off week was time and a half. It worked out well for all concerned. The hsopital was staffed and the staff was well paid....what a novel idea!
  10. by   fergus51
    #8 0
    Oh BULL!!! Like this type of policy is the worst thing in the world or something.

    I am not for having nurses work when ill, but I don't see anything wrong with them having to work another weekend later. I get REALLY sick of the nurses who are ONLY sick between Friday and Sunday, and like it or not, there are a lot of them out there. Do you think it's merely a coincidence that a nurse will call off every wweekend or every second weekend she works, but be fine by Monday?

    I am tired of it and would welcome such a policy, because I wind up having to pick up the slack and I am not amused by it. I chose to work a lot of weekends and night shifts because I don't have kids and can understand why being home on weekends is important to moms, but even moms should have to pick up their fair share of undesirable shifts. Someone has to work, why not them? It's one thing if they are sick one weekend out of 10, it's quite another when they are sick 5 weekends out of 10.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    #9 0
    it's NO coicidence when I CALL IN's necessity. This attitude is what will drive people away. If there is a "pattern" punish the offenders...but leave the rest of alone and treat us w/ a bit of RESPECT! Like I said, I would not stand for it.
  12. by   nursegoodguy
    #10 0
    Sorry to sound like a mercenary but money talks! Hey I would love to be able to do good deeds just because I like helping people but the bottom line is where I work is what makes my house payment and it's always nice to have a little extra on your check. Give a weekend differential and if you do already then give a better one! You could try to find people who just want to work doubles on the weekends and then pay them for 40, but if one of them call in then you really have a problem! Try finding nurses who are willing to be on call and give them a bonus plus double time if they have to work. That will take a little pressure off you for a few weekends... No matter what you do people will still get sick or have sick kids or whatever... they will call in from time to time so you have to attempt to entice them to show up and have a back up plan to get someone else to cover... Try offering double time plus a bonus if a nurse covers a call in anytime from fri 3-11 thru sun 11-7. In, (actually several) facilities I worked in if a nurse called in, the remaining nurses had to split that nurses unit... well that facility couldn't keep anyone! If you have to split a unit then split the pay between the nurses running their hind ends off, that would have been spent on the nurse that should've showed up.
    I worked in a facility in a small town that had a problem with staffing and call in's too. What did we do? We started working 12 hour shifts and everyone loved it! 3 on 4 off! And we got our pay boosted to reflect the missing 4 hours a week. We had some nurses that "prefered" the weekend shift (for one reason or another.) We really didn't have that many call ins because if I missed a day, well that was about a 3rd of my pay for the week and not just a shift! There was no agency in the facility the entire time we worked our 12 hour shift schedule and we even and we even had nurses driving in because they wanted to work 12's and it wasn't offered in the bigger city about 45 minutes away. This went on for about 6 years until we got a new admin nurse who went to the administrator and said that we were too crabby during our 3rd 12 hour shift and the administrator didn't like the idea of 12 hour shifts anyway,(?) So they had a meeting where they had food catered in for us, (always know when they feed ya it ain't good) and they said that we were going back to 8 hour shifts and not only that but 4 on 2 off! They also said it was not open for discussion, they didn't want our input! Guess what happened... by the deadline date they lost about 5 of their nurses and more were on their way out the door! Call the agency! The Administrator was transfered and the DON couldn't take the pressure and ended up working the floor on night shift plus they got a new ADON. The sad part is just think about what happened to the quality of patient care... The new DON, (who use to work as SDC) said Wow what happened and how do we fix it! Back to 12 hour shifts they went and little by little it has gotten back to normal.
    One thing to keep in mind is that with 12's you do need more staff and you should offer a "good" diff for people working fri-sun & sat-mon.
    Have a meeting and ask them for solutions or bring up some of these ideas... Hopefully you have your administrators backing or you might as well move into the big city yourself!
    In a small town where you don't have a pool of nurses to draw from you better make it worth while for the nurses you do have!
    Don't threaten your nurses with, "if you call in we'll do this or that" because you need them! If you have to write someone up then get out the pen and just do it but you'll have a much better group if you work with them and try to make it a great place to work in!
    Think about how you can make it better for them and I'm willing to bet they will think about you too...
  13. by   Rustyhammer
    #11 1
    How dare ANY nurse call in for ANY reason!
    We are not allowed to be sick or allow our kids to catch the chicken pox or anything else.
    You are nurses! Now get back to work before something else gets taken away or maybe I'll have to note that sick call on your eval.
    Anything to avoid making administration do a med pass.
  14. by   hoolahan
    #12 1
    Well, if I need a special day off, and it is my weekend, and I have asked everyone to switch, and they all said no, do you really think I will miss my daughter's dance recital to work? So, yes, sometimes people call off and it is not legitimate, but maybe because they tried to tell their manager that it was extremely important to them, but they were denied that day of vacation. In my old unit, almost every single day you ever asked for was denied by the nurse manager, so what other choice do you have? Well, there's always a choice, and many transferred out of the unit, like me. I went to the MICU, where the nurse managers worked to give everyone what they wanted. A happy staff is a loyal staff, they remember a manager who covered an important event for you, and when they ask you to help, you do b/c it is a situation of mutual respect. What a novel concept! If I would have to call out because of a sick child, I would ask which other day was short, and offer to work that day instead. This not only helped the unit, but kept me from depleting my sick time bank. These managers understood that small children will grow up, and the nurses will stay in an environment of flexibility, as flexible as a hospitla situation can be anyway. We did self-scheduling too. When the schedule came out, there was a list of needed switches or holes, before the final copy went up, we always had every spot covered. Treat people as mature adults, and they will act like mature adults, Try it sometime!

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