Do you think this is appropriate? (Sick time)

  1. Today, while in the office, several of us were siting there calling our pt's setting up visits for the day, and our supervisor came up to us, and said, "So, are you both feeling OK? Healthy, and everything?" Huh?? We looked at each other and looked at her, like, well, we're here, and we look OK don't we? My co-worker and I just said "yeah...why do you ask?" And she said, "Well, the weekend staffing is very tight, and we just want to be sure no one is feeling ill or thinking about calling out sick on Saturday."

    Now, I don't know about you, but I was a little peeved at this line of questioning. First of all, no one ever plans to get sick, sometimes 24-hour bugs really DO come on fast, or you spike a temp, get food poisoning, or your child gets sick, or you have another emergency. So, if I am trapped into saying "Yes, I feel great," then something happens and I had to call out sick, would they then call me a liar?? Mind you I have no plans to call out sick for mental health purposes or anything. But, it just seems to me that by going around and asking everyone how they are feeling, is just somehoe inappropriate. We are given 10 sick days and 11 personal days, and they are ours to use, regardless of the agencies short-staffing.

    The supervisor explained they are trying to determine how many new pt's they should accept, and that is good, but I don't think it is wise to cut it that close. If there is even a question we will not be able to handle the load, we shouldn't take it, we need a cushion, b/c you just never know. Esp in HH, there have been rare occassions when I have had to park my car on streets w a lot of broken glass, I could get a flat, cars die, nurses have been in accidents. You just cannot make a foolproof plan by going around and asking each nurse if they will be sure to be well enough to show up.

    We have had a tremendous amount of call-outs lately, maybe this is due to the incredible stress we have been under by taking too many cases, though in fairness, management did cut the number of new pt's taken dramatically this week, and it was a very pleasant week of working I might add, all my pt's were actually seen, and no one had to be pushed on to the weekend. I am caught up on all my paperwork too.

    Anyway, back to the subject, they have already implemented a sick pay-out once a month you can get an extra sick day paid to you in your pay if you don't use sick time. That should be it. OK, some people will still take their mental health days, and frankly, if they feel that stressed, I say they should take it. Even tho it creates more stress for everyone else as we scramble to cover their pt's. When a nurse is that stressed, her pt's don't need to hear about it, and they are not always pleasant to be around, so if they need that day, leave them be. What do you think?
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    About hoolahan

    Joined: Dec '99; Posts: 3,786; Likes: 129
    Quality Nurse & Home Health Nurse


  3. by   Huganurse
    That was a very strange question to ask you in my opinion. Sounds like she might have her own personal plans and was checking to see if she might end up covering or having to scramble to get the coverage. Since you said she was trying to figure out how many patients to accept on the basis of coverage, I'll go with that and say you should all get together and buy her a crystal ball because that is the only way she will predict the future! LOL. Good Luck! Happy visiting! Hug.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  4. by   shay
    Whoa, Linda....did you ask a loaded question!! LOL!! Just kidding....

    This is such a sensitive subject for me right now...especially today. A nurse who's a 'call-out queen' called out yet AGAIN today, leaving us in a horrible bind. It really gets irritating...when you can look on the schedule and see who you're working with and KNOW that you'll probably be stuck working short again because that particular person calls out ALL THE TIME.

    Yes, I have of course taken a mental health day or two...just about all of us have. And your supervisor may have not been implying that you can 'plan' to be sick or well, but maybe was just trying to put it in your heads that the call outs are getting too much.

    I know, I know...people call out because they're stressed. We've all been there and done that....but one who's worked with SEVERAL call-out queens, it really gets old. You just want to cuss them out when you finally DO get to work with them. And have you ever noticed that the c.o.q.'s (call-out queens) spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone making personal phone calls to handle their 'personal' matters??


    It is soooooo frustrating. Just as much as management needs to strive to have adequate staffing to prevent over-stressing the staff when there's a boom in census, staff need to strive to weed out the c.o.q.'s and maybe apply some peer pressure to make them call out less or change their status to supplemental.

    Argh. Now I'm just babbling...sorry.
  5. by   susanmary
    I agree with huganurse -- your supervisor probably has plans. How on earth do you know if you are going to be sick in the near future? We run ourselves ragged, take on enormous patient loads with acutely ill (and infectious patients), and are expected NEVER to get ill? And if we do, we are treated in a punitive manner.

    Hope you don't get sick this weekend -- wouldn't want your super to have to scramble and cover the hole (sigh.)
  6. by   hoolahan
    Well, the theory on sup having plans doesn't wash, we have perm w/e sup's! So she's off regardless.

    I hear you on the coq's shay!! But don't you think the sup should take it up with the abusers and leave the good children alone??

    I'm not sure about an actual drop in census. I thought I was crazy when we got bombed w so many w/e admits, but NRSKaren, who does intake in a huge agency, tells me it is always more common to get more admits on w/e. Seems to me, around here, the trend is send all the pt's you can so on-call case manager doesn't have to come in. They send the referrals even if the pt is still in ICU sometimes, they want to reserve the spot. MOst of the hospitals in the area prefer our agency simply b/c we "take anything." Joy!

    But, I am glad to hear your comments, b/c I just thought that was strange indeed. Next time you can bet I will say, "Well, my back is OK, of course I did have to take 800mg motrin this am..." LOL I won't be baited into that little trap again. And knowing this sup, which BTW, someone has to pretty much retire of die to get a sup position in my agency, they stay forever, she got this stupid direction from higher up. Now if I had gotten a direction to ask staff this question, I would have just reported back everyone was fine as far as I know, and never bothered to ask. What is the point??!! I DO like the crystal ball idea! :chuckle.
  7. by   pebbles
    I didn't read it as the supervisor wanting to make sure she won't have to cover. I read it as a thinly veiled threat. "Don't call in sick, or else. I saw you here and I know you were not sick when I saw you, so if you call in sick, you will face judgement by your superivisors."

    If anybody calls in sick, they should make sure to have a doctors note, for sure!
    Last edit by pebbles on Apr 6, '02
  8. by   nursedawn67
    I had that happen last week...and I wasn't sure how to take it....I was running a 101 temp on Wed morning so I called in and told them I would not be in that night the next day I was feeling somewhat temp I came in for a meeting and they asked me if I was feeling better and sure I could work that night....I said yeah, but then thought what if in a couple of hours before shift I'm not better and am feeling worse? I did end up going in and did start spiking a low grade temp again in the middle of the night...all I could do was tough it out... but what an odd question...if I had called in I would have felt like they were calling me a liar.
  9. by   pebbles
    Crap like this is why nurses go to work even when they are really sick. What else can you do, when you are threatened or intimidated like this?
  10. by   susanmary
    I think I'm going to be sick in 3.25 days -- I'd better call my manager RIGHT NOW to let her know. Seriously, no other PROFESSION (yes -- we ARE a profession) treats professionals as such. If we go over our sick days, our ENTIRE yearly performance evaluation is "needs improvement" which means no raise. Doesn't matter if you are exemplary in every situation -- everything is changed to needs improvement. Again, where else would this happen? Especially when you have infectious patients who DON"T COVER THEIR MOUTHS & spew fluids everywhere. How sick.
  11. by   micro
    Originally posted by susanmary
    I agree with huganurse -- We run ourselves ragged, take on enormous patient loads with acutely ill (and infectious patients), and are expected NEVER to get ill? And if we do, we are treated in a punitive manner..........

    Hope you don't get sick this weekend --(sigh.)
    thanks for letting me paraphrase.....all good points and well stated opinion...

    Hoolihan.......yes, you think they would leave the good children I have 200 PTO...

    good ???

    micro:stone :zzzzz
  12. by   shay
    Originally posted by hoolahan
    I hear you on the coq's shay!! But don't you think the sup should take it up with the abusers and leave the good children alone??
    Yeah, you're right Linda and everyone else. Sorry, I was at a weak point after being screwed by a coq!!!
  13. by   mother/babyRN
    If you have a union, or the sick time is an earned benefit..they are NOT supposed to ask....
  14. by   mother/babyRN
    It seems as equally inappropriate to me as if they came around and asked if anyone in your immdiate family was in danger of dying so no bereavement time would have to be taken...