Call in sick, or risk getting patients sick?

  1. 1 My boss reamed me for calling in sick for my shift tonight. I had the flu last week (called in 2 shifts), felt better, went back to work, and now have a respiratory thing going on, so I called in. My thought process is, why put a sick nurse on the floor if there can be a replacement who is healthy and won't be coughing, fever, congestion, etc. all over the place.

    What would you do? I still think I did the right thing. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but now I feel guilty.
  2. Visit  stelarRN profile page

    About stelarRN, ADN

    stelarRN has '6' year(s) of experience. From 'San Francisco, CA'; Joined Jul '07; Posts: 119; Likes: 29.

    39 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  * RN * profile page
    0
    Well if you don't feel 100% you could make errors but as far as giving another nurse your cold, I don't know. Theoretically we are around sick people all day and if we follow the proper precautions we shouldn't worry about spreading germs, besides many of the illnesses out there are catchy before you are symptomatic. I would call out if I wasn't feeling well enough to perform or if I had a fever since that is the policy where I am, but probably not to prevent others from getting sick- I would just try to minimize the spread of my germs.

    Quote from stellarjess
    My boss reamed me for calling in sick for my shift tonight. I had the flu last week (called in 2 shifts), felt better, went back to work, and now have a respiratory thing going on, so I called in. My thought process is, why put a sick nurse on the floor if there can be a replacement who is healthy and won't be coughing, fever, congestion, etc. all over the place.

    What would you do? I still think I did the right thing. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but now I feel guilty.
  4. Visit  Virgo_RN profile page
    5
    If you have a fever, you should stay home.

    But when you have a respiratory virus, you will cough for days or even weeks afterward, and it would be a little excessive to call in for that, IMO. In an instance like that, I would take some non-drowsy cough medicine and go to work.
  5. Visit  stelarRN profile page
    1
    I do have a low-grade fever and chills. the fever rule applies to my facility as well. I work at a rehab facility so not all of my patients are sick. Most of them are there for post-op recovery (hip and knee replacements, back pain, etc).
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  6. Visit  funvirgoRN profile page
    3
    I had a similar issue. Instead of calling in sick I called the job to see if they needed me and if there was any way they could just cancel me for my scheduled shift. That way I'm not penalized. Another option is to come in sick and either let them send you home or tell them in the middle of your shift that you are too sick to work. Its not considered a call out and won't work against you. Besides, after doing that a few times your boss will encourage you to just call out when you're sick.
  7. Visit  stelarRN profile page
    1
    Quote from funvirgoRN
    I had a similar issue. Instead of calling in sick I called the job to see if they needed me and if there was any way they could just cancel me for my scheduled shift. That way I'm not penalized. Another option is to come in sick and either let them send you home or tell them in the middle of your shift that you are too sick to work. Its not considered a call out and won't work against you. Besides, after doing that a few times your boss will encourage you to just call out when you're sick.
    I thought about going in and letting them send me home. I should have just done that.
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  8. Visit  Da_Milk_of_Amnesia profile page
    1
    I would much rather go in and have them send me home and for me to call in sick. For me personally I feel like calling in sick is a cop out and alot of people use it when they really arent sick which is an abuse of the system, but regardless I think it makes me look like I'm a ***** and I can't stand that.
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  9. Visit  stelarRN profile page
    1
    Quote from EMTRN6785
    I would much rather go in and have them send me home and for me to call in sick. For me personally I feel like calling in sick is a cop out and alot of people use it when they really arent sick which is an abuse of the system, but regardless I think it makes me look like I'm a ***** and I can't stand that.
    I feel the same about calling in sick. (Which is why I feel like such an a**!) Also calling in sick in the nursing field is different than any other job. It's not as easy to replace someone for our shifts.
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  10. Visit  nursinger profile page
    16
    When I was a new nurse, I would always have the guilt trip when I called out sick no matter how sick I was. Now that I'm a seasoned nurse with many years experience, I learned at some point that it is about me and if I'm feeling sick, I won't be going to work and I won't be feeling guilty about it either. It'll be an inconvience for them, but they'll find a float for me. To me, it makes no sense to go to work sick to take care of sick people whose immune systems are already compromised. I'll stay home guilt free and get better so that I may function at a higher level for the good of my patients and my fellow co workers.
    Pangea Reunited, TLCfromSC, Sherriblu, and 13 others like this.
  11. Visit  stelarRN profile page
    0
    Quote from nursinger
    When I was a new nurse, I would always have the guilt trip when I called out sick no matter how sick I was. Now that I'm a seasoned nurse with many years experience, I learned at some point that it is about me and if I'm feeling sick, I won't be going to work and I won't be feeling guilty about it either. It'll be an inconvience for them, but they'll find a float for me. To me, it makes no sense to go to work sick to take care of sick people whose immune systems are already compromised. I'll stay home guilt free and get better so that I may function at a higher level for the good of my patients and my fellow co workers.
    Thank you for this, I feel better hearing your thoughts I have 25 patients to care for on my shift, and not being at a 100% affects me greatly in caring for that amount of residents.
    Last edit by stelarRN on Dec 23, '09
  12. Visit  Grace Oz profile page
    9
    I'm retired now, but many years ago a colleague came to work who was clearly quite unwell. She was coughing and sneezing all over the place, and we were nursing post-op patients. Some elderly.

    She was unable to perform optimally and I had to carry the load.

    Sure enough, not only did one of the patients get sick from her "bug", but so did I! Not only did I get sick with it, I got really sick and ended up having to miss a lot of shifts! She on the other hand continued to work and didn't lose any shifts or the pay!

    We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves.
    We also owe it to others to be responsible and considerate.

    Hope you feel better soon!
    gb8852, NRSKarenRN, Sherriblu, and 6 others like this.
  13. Visit  stelarRN profile page
    0
    Quote from Grace Oz
    We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves.
    We also owe it to others to be responsible and considerate.
    Exactly. Thank you Grace
  14. Visit  Riley3 profile page
    3
    I called in Monday and Tuesday this week..for fever, chills, headache, cough, and on/off GI symptoms. I am pretty sick. Sunday night when I called in for monday, no problem. When I called in Monday for Tuesday..I got the "Are you kidding me", "sigh", "geeze"..end with me apologizing..and them saying "uh ok its fine" then me saying I dont call out and do you think I want to use all my vacation time up being sick..then them saying "go to bed feel better" Of course today I dragged my butt in there and all I hear all day is what am i doing there I look horrible and do I want to go home..Sometimes you really can't win..

    Always amazes me that nursing is so brutal to each other when we are ill, but compassionate to the patients. I think we have forgotten that we need to take care of each other as well as ourselves. I do recognize that it is at times hard to find a replacement, but the reality is even though we are nurses we still do get sick.
    adamRn79, Sherriblu, and jtm11 like this.


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