called in sick, nurse manager calling back (inappropriate tactics?)

  1. My husband and I work together as RNs on the same unit (ICU) and we work the same schedule. No problems on that front so far between us, staff, or management. Neither of us has called in sick since signing on 18 months ago.

    Yesterday, he called in sick for the first time ever (vomiting and diarrhea.) He gave plenty of notice, calling both our nurse manager and charge nurse at midnight. Our shift is 7a-7p.

    At 4am, our NM called my husband. My husband was ill, and could predict that it was a plea to retract his sick day, and decided not to pick up. Then, the NM texted my husband "please call me back asap."

    Ten minutes later, the NM called my cell phone. I of course happened to be finishing my last precious hours of sleep before showing up to work at 7am. I did not pick up! Five minutes later, the NM texted my phone: "please let your husband know to call me. we will need his help at 11. thank you."

    Then, between 0400-0430, NM proceeded to call us BOTH one more time. He proceeded to leave a message on my husband's phone: "we will be needing you to come in as several nurses will be tripled."


    My husband did end up going into work (i know, i know ) much to our charge nurse's dismay. It turns out, had he not retracted his sick day, the NM would have ended up coming in to take patients. My husband ended up working while he was sick, and three nurses were tripled anyway (I was one of them.)

    Is this a typical tactic in nursing these days? I feel that this was inappropriate behavior on our NM's part, and can't help but to feel somewhat violated - on my husband's behalf, and that the NM was disturbing my sleep when he knew I would be working in several hours?

    Not sure why I'm posting, just trying to vent and find some solidarity I guess. Thanks
  2. Visit jbaggins profile page

    About jbaggins

    Joined: Nov '09; Posts: 14; Likes: 8
    from US


  3. by   DoeRN
    He gave more than enough notice. I wouldn't have answered the phone. If he is sick then he is sick. The nurse manger should have stepped up to the plate and taken an assignment.

    But to answer your question, no I'm not surprised. I worked at a hospital similar to this and sure enough I'm sitting in the ER AT THE HOSPITAL I was working at very sick and my manager called asking could I reconsider calling in because the floor would be short. I said well I hope it isn't too short because I will be a patient today. Thank goodness I was admitted to a different floor.
  4. by   sissiesmama
    I wouldn't have answered either. Definetly gave plenty of notice. The facility where I worked last
    Was like that too, and when my NM called me the last time, I was sitting in a chair in the ER waiting room puking my guts up. I'm glad it wasn't just my facility!
  5. by   Silverlight2010
    That's really inappropriate. A sick day is a sick day and hounding you both over it is beyond unaccaptable.
  6. by   Mulan
    Yes, it was inappropriate but it was also inappropriate for your
    husband to cave in to it.

    You both should have ignored the calls and texts.

    Say what? I never got any message.
    Last edit by Mulan on Nov 12, '12
  7. by   DSkelton711
    It never ceases to amaze me how a healthcare facility puts the health of its employee in the "we don't care" pile. Plus, if you read your employee manual there is always a place dedicated to telling you "not to come to work sick out of consideration for the patients and your fellow employees". I have a chronic illness and getting exposed to someone who shouldn't be at work can mean serious consequences. Why do they even make these policies if they aren't even going to follow them.
    I recommend next time not answering, or answering and saying a polite "no".
  8. by   kakamegamama
    Ah, yes....been there, done that, won't ever, ever again.... the nerve of some people. Sounds to me that NM just didn't want to have patients that day.....
  9. by   jbaggins
    I agree it was probably inappropriate for him to cave to the NM's calls; he ended up doing it because he predicted I would be one of the nurses tripled in retaliation - and was trying to reduce that possibility. We work in a crazy ICU where being tripled feels like you are playing roulette with your license and patient lives... Am I a bad wife for letting him come in? Let's put it in the p.o.v. that he's an amazing husband. (I was tripled anyway though)
  10. by   Fiona59
    Two words.

    Harrassment grievance.
  11. by   Altra
    Completely inappropriate. I've never worked anywhere where that would happen ... but if I were to get such a call, MY next calls would be to human resources and to my manager's boss.
  12. by   Caffeine_IV
    I have never heard of such. It sounds as though the NM should have come in anyway even with your sick husband working. Are you all looking for different employment? Sick means sick. I would have ignored all the calls and complained.
  13. by   merlee
    I am surprised that any facility would hire spouses to work in the same unit as well as the same shift.

    But the NM had no business calling back for any reason short of a disaster. None. And calling the other spouse is really inappropriate.

    Is there no float or agency personel?

    Make that call to the NM's boss.
  14. by   Ntheboat2
    Quote from doeRAYmee
    He gave more than enough notice. I wouldn't have answered the phone. If he is sick then he is sick. The nurse manger should have stepped up to the plate and taken an assignment.
    I agree. I took a test not long ago that had a scenario similar to this. It said, "If you were the nurse manager and an employee had to go home sick, what would you do?"

    One choice was, "Take on a patient assignment so the unit is sufficiently staffed."

    Another was, "Start calling staff to come in and cover the unit."

    I chose "take on the patient assignment."

    WRONG! Go figure. I'm not manager material, obviously.