Working while ill

  1. The hospital where I work has a new DON. He has implemented a new policy where missing more than three days in four months due to illness will result in termination. Now we have nurses working with elevated temperatures, vomiting, URI's etc. I will add that we do not get paid sick days anyway. A fellow nurse was ill, saw the doctor, had a written doctor's statement that she was to ill to work and DON said no go. She had to work or get fired. I could not find any information on my state's Dept. of Labor website about this subject. Any suggestions? We certainly aren't helping patients by reinfecting them with our own illnesses.
    Saustin, RN
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Reabock
    Where is your Infection Control Nurse?? What does she have to say about this ? This policy is wrong. Why expose the pt population to more germs when they are already compromised? And most folks don't work at top capacity when they feel poorly, and this is from a nurse that did work the weekend with a sore throat and cough that is now turning into a bronchitis, but you know weekends are tough ones to call off on due to staff already being low. (plus I was already on an antibiotic since last Thursday for a dental procedure so figured I was covered and most of my patients already had pneumonia anyway and I am a handwashing fanatic)
    How about if everyone gets fired due to their silly ruling, who are they going to hire, its not like there are nurses beating down their door for a job! Joanne
  4. by   Huganurse
    I think anyone who comes in ill to work due to the demands you mentioned should march right into the DON's office and sneeze, cough, shake hands with, and anything else you can think of that will infect that DON! Soon the DON will be sick on more days than allowed. Maybe, the policy would change!
    Seriously, if your state is a right to work state there may not be any recourse. How about joining a union to fight this kind of injustice?
    The first person who gets terminated that has a legit Dr's note excusing them from work should get a lawyer. There are some federal laws in the ADA that cover people in these situations even though they are not disabled.
    Good Luck!
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  5. by   Stargazer
    If you've got this policy in writing--or any disciplinary notices related thereto--I would take my documentaton straight to the nearest Big Anonymous Copy Center and fax the pages to every local newspaper, TV station and radio station within 250 miles. But I'm evil that way.
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    SAUSTIN, can you identify your state?? Can then look for laws.
    DEMAND to see a written copy, photocopy for your records ....
    of all the ass..e rules, all in the name to keep sick days at a minimum. I am assuming this is not a hospital, so they culd get away with it. I would report facility to state board of health pronto.
  7. by   Jenny P
    Personally, I like Huganurse and Stargazers' "evil" ideas; but realistically, I'd go to the state Dept. of Health with this. Saustin DID say it was a hospital, NRSKarenRN, so I don't know if they could get away with it no matter what state they are in.
    The idea that we are supposed to be health care personnel who would be bringing contagious infections into compromised patients is totally against all infection control teachings that there are.
    How many nurses would need to be terminated before this jerk found out that there is a national-- NO; WORLD WIDE - nursing shortage and there is NO ONE to fill the empty spots he's just created? Hmmmm, is this a hospital that they are trying to close or get rid of?????
  8. by   shay
    I like Huganurse's idea......send him an envelope (business-sized manilla) filled with snotty tissues and sputum....tell him it's a thank-you note from the nurses.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    Saustin:
    Sorry I missed the hospital in first post. Is this new policy just in your nursing dept. or thruout facility....all workers need to to treated in same way throught facility if FT re benefits otherwise, illegal.

    See these interesting sites, some geared towards management:

    Frustration of the Employment Contract
    http://www.benefitsworld.com/AA/Dis/...ermination.asp

    Look under Workers' Compensation Act for your state--do a www.google.com search

    The Industrial Front-Line
    Supervisor and Work Place
    Laws Related to Civil Rights
    http://www.nait.org/jit/Articles/hayd1198.pdf

    Controlling Employee Absences:
    http://www.fmi.org/newsletters/labor/more/lisjan00.html
    to management:
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 26, '02
  10. by   nursedawn67
    Originally posted by saustin
    The hospital where I work has a new DON. He has implemented a new policy where missing more than three days in four months due to illness will result in termination. Now we have nurses working with elevated temperatures, vomiting, URI's etc. I will add that we do not get paid sick days anyway. A fellow nurse was ill, saw the doctor, had a written doctor's statement that she was to ill to work and DON said no go. She had to work or get fired. I could not find any information on my state's Dept. of Labor website about this subject. Any suggestions? We certainly aren't helping patients by reinfecting them with our own illnesses.
    Saustin, RN
    What planet has this DON been on??? Doesn't she/he realize that some of the illnesses that are picked up now days?!?!?! And she/he is willing to put a patient that is already immune compromised in a situation of contracting another illness.....that potentially can become deadly!! Can you imagine being ill enough or just recovering from surgery and have a nurse come in (vomiting/coughing/sneezing/dripping eyes and nose...etc):imbar and try to talk/shake your hand/take a bp or pulse or any number of things that nurses do??!?!?!? I would tell them to leave my room, because I cannot afford to get any more ill. And not only that...but when you are ill you can't think clearly....and then you are going to make major decisions and try to pass out meds properly?!? Definately try to get this nutcase reported!
  11. by   lisadavis
    sounds like the DON is way out of line. i don't know what state this is but i bet it is not and "offcial" policy of the facility because such a policy would open up that facility to a multitude of law suits. i bet the DON was told to get absentee rate down and he has chosen the "scare tactic". we had an administrator like that, and he is now no longer with the company.. demand a written copy of this new policy.........i bet it doesn't exist.......
  12. by   imenid37
    the word moron quickly comes to mind. contact you state's labor dept. and board of nursing. publicity would only be another pluss. does this person supply you w/ germ-resistant space suits to wear out in the world or what.? whenever you're sic, please make it a point to cough all over her/him and put your unwashed hands all over this person's telephone, desk, etc.
  13. by   Tookie
    I am flabbergasted
    Maybe as well as checking your state dept of Health etc - maybe someone should check the credentials of the DON.
  14. by   Furball
    I USED to come into work ill...sometimes very ill. (whatta dummy!)That stopped when our hospital started a heart transplant program and the tele floor became inundated with immune suppressed pts. It really magnified why it's so wrong to come to work in a hospital sick on ANY floor. No way will I jeopardize their fragile health with strep throat or whatever else I catch here and there. That's just plain lunacy to force nurses to come into work sick. The local news would definitely be interested I would think. The public would be quite irritated by it too...at least the ones who have a brain.

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