At what point do you call in sick?

  1. I need help! I feel horrible, being tx for a sinus infx, but now I think I have a cold on top of it...Just keep feeling worse and worse. Don't want to pass anything to pt's but at the same time we're already understaffed and who knows if I'm still contagious! At what point do you decide to call in sick (and not feel guilty about it!)
    Thanks.
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    About stillpressingon

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 322; Likes: 46

    23 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I call in as soon as i know that i can't work, and can get my head away from the trashcan long enough. First, going in sick, would get others sick, and make the short staffing even worse, but also, the pts. do not need exposed to it either.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    I consider myself "sick" only when I can't get my head a) off the pillow, or b) out of the toilet.

    For work purposes, however, I will call in if I have something I don't want my elderly residents to catch, like a bad chest cold or a stomach bug. Otherwise, I've worked through kidney infections, cellulitis, gallbladder attacks, and (once) even malignant hypertension. A few years ago I was at work when this horrendous headache came on suddenly; when my co-worker took my BP, it was 260/130.

    Did I go tell the nursing supervisor and check myself into the ER? Of course not: I waited until the next day to go to the doctor, and by then the BP was down to 180/110. It was totally stupid; I could've stroked out right there on the floor even if I WAS only in my early 40s at the time.........but you know how nurses are, we tend to be terrible patients, and we take care of everyone else before we take care of ourselves.

    The take-home lesson is, naturally, to listen to your body and obey it when it tells you to slow down. If you feel awful, STAY HOME! No job is more important than your health.........you don't have to feel guilty about that.

    Hope you feel better soon!
  5. by   Midwest4me
    If I'm running a high fever, bronchitis, severe sinus infection or have diarrhea that I can't control then I will call in.

    Sounds like you're pretty miserable; I wouldn't blame you for taking a day or more off! Get better soon!!!!
  6. by   MIA-RN1
    This is interesting because I am a relatively new nurse--I have not yet worked long enough to amass any sick time yet!
    Anyway, I found out recently that we get only five sick days per year. Not only that but after four events of sickness, we lose our yearly raises! Meaning that if I call in for three days straight, I will use almost all of my sick time, and that one block of time will equal one 'event'. THen if I call in for three more days later on, I will only get paid the rest of my sick time, and then go no pay or vaca time. And that will be the second 'event'. After that its unpaid or vaca time.
    Plus any sickness that requires more than three days absense also requires an MD note and a clearance thru health services to return.
    It burns my britches that as healthcare providers, we are PENALIZED if we get sick.
  7. by   rach_nc_03
    this is one of my soapbox issues.

    If you're sick, do not go to work. Personally, i think the places that require a doctor's note for every single missed day should (a) drive you to the doctor themselves, and (b) pay the bill at the doc's office.

    The longer we condone this hypocritical mentality (yes, do everything you can to keep your patients well, but by god, you'd better be dead if you don't come in to work!), the longer these kinds of policies will exist.

    I know it's easy to say this when it's not my a** on the line, but seriously, this has to be stopped. i once got a horrible case of gastroenteritis after another staff member came to work while she was puking her guts out. I think six people, total, missed work within a week of her coming in.

    When I was a supervisor, I sent home anyone who had a fever, period. When we die, we won't get bonus points for all the times we worked when we were sick and miserable.
  8. by   redwinggirlie
    If I feel bad enough to entertain the thought of staying home and taking care of myself, I call in. No guilt, no shame. Gotta take care of number one!
  9. by   JJJJJJ6
    Call In If You Feel You Can't Perform Proper Pt Care.
  10. by   teeituptom
    I even sometimes call in when I get a very nice Tee Time, and the weather is primo. I love primo golf weather. Sick pay is there to be used. use it.
  11. by   Tweety
    I know my body well enough to know when I can and can't make it through a shift.


    If you keep feeling worse and worse, the time to call in was the time you were making this post. I call in as early as possible, usually the night before.
  12. by   weirdRN
    Safety First.

    Your Safety First: Can you drive to work? and make it home too? How miserable are you? How miserable will you become?

    Patient Safety First: Can you provide safe effective patient care? This includes being able to prevent exposure to the bug you have. (Infection Control)

    I also call off when my child is too sick to attend school.
    Many organizations are so short staffed that incidents of call offs are documented and used terminate employees who "abuse" the system.
  13. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I NORMALLY fend off the desire to call in because I just don't want to be there.

    But, if I'm sick? Because of the above, I call in way less than some of my peers, but by the same token, I don't feel guilty not working when I AM sick.

    Life's too short.

    And besides, unless you are the manager, staffing isn't your problem. Don't take on the world's guilt. Your priorities are to present yourself to work in good working order and to NOT abuse sick time and use it only when needed.

    But, it is THERE to use when needed. And, while I might not schedule a tee time, I HAVE called in for mental health reasons. In my book, they are equally valid.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  14. by   snowfreeze
    I am home sick right now 'most likely' because a co-worker chose to work sick. 5 days ago I called off due to laryngitis, I had 5 scheduled days off and was sick for that whole time, had to give away tickets to a concert and now I have conjunctivitis so another two days off. Even if you don't take care of yourself, don't infect your co-workers.

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