Working while sick!

  1. This is gnawing at me and I don't know what to do!

    There is a policy at our LTCF that if you're sick, you have to find your own replacement. I was sick one nite a couple of months ago and ended up working because I could find no replacement.

    Well, a week or so ago, I came in for my 11-7 shift, and the evening shift nurse was sick with an URI. She sounded awful, and her face was hot and flushed. I found out later that she'd tried to find someone else to come in and couldn't and the DON told her 'too bad, it's your problem'!

    Well since then, some of the residents have come down with an URI, and one had to be hospitalized with pneumonia. Don't know if there is a connection or not.

    This same DON will come in to work as a cna if they're short, but she will not do the nursing. It's not like it's been years since she practiced either - she's been a DON for 6 months - before that, she worked med-surg at the hospital.

    This doesn't seem right to me - I've decided that if she ever insists that I work sick again, she'll get my resignation on the spot.
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    Joined: Sep '05; Posts: 1,277; Likes: 359

    29 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Well, let me play devil's advocate for a moment here.

    I have a similar policy........if you're calling in, you need to try to replace yourself , preferably at least four hours prior to the beginning of your shift. Everyone has a copy of the staff roster, and the expectation is that you first try to get someone to cover your shift. The reason I do things this way is to reduce the number of frivolous call-ins, and it works---if personnel know they are responsible for finding a replacement, they are less apt to call in just because they don't feel like coming to work that day.

    HOWEVER---if a staff member truly is ill and has made a good-faith effort to call someone else in, they know they can call me and I will make sure the shift is covered. I'm pretty persuasive, and I can usually cobble together something in a hurry when necessary.......and if all else fails, I'll come in and help out myself. I don't want people coming to work ill. But neither do I want them thinking "Oh, I need a day off, think I'll call in and go to the beach".
  4. by   CoffeeRTC
    What would happen if you call around and can't find a replacement and are soooo sick you call off?
    I hear you Marla,but sometimes @hit happens.
    I've seen the URIs and stomach viruses spread becuse fo staff,in my opion that is causing harm to other residents.
  5. by   banditrn
    Quote from mjlrn97
    Well, let me play devil's advocate for a moment here.

    I have a similar policy........if you're calling in, you need to try to replace yourself , preferably at least four hours prior to the beginning of your shift. Everyone has a copy of the staff roster, and the expectation is that you first try to get someone to cover your shift. The reason I do things this way is to reduce the number of frivolous call-ins, and it works---if personnel know they are responsible for finding a replacement, they are less apt to call in just because they don't feel like coming to work that day.

    HOWEVER---if a staff member truly is ill and has made a good-faith effort to call someone else in, they know they can call me and I will make sure the shift is covered. I'm pretty persuasive, and I can usually cobble together something in a hurry when necessary.......and if all else fails, I'll come in and help out myself. I don't want people coming to work ill. But neither do I want them thinking "Oh, I need a day off, think I'll call in and go to the beach".
    Yes, I understand about 'frivolous' call-ins - I would think as a DON, you would have some idea about staff that do that, and could deal with it. BUT, this isn't a case of frivolous calling in - and I've seen more that one person there who shouldn't have been. Because they were unable to find anyone.

    Now, IMHO, when you take a job as DON, you need to have a plan for things like this - and that doesn't mean subjecting patients to sick caregivers. And I would have to assume that the staff are adults and take adult responsibility.

    Yes, I'm sure finding your own replacement DOES cut down on call-ins - but I remember the nite I got a call to go in from a co-worker who had diarrhea so bad, and was told to put on an adult diaper and come in!!

    I was told recently to inform anyone who called in on my shift, that if they don't find a replacement, and don't come in, that they could be fired.

    Now, I technically don't NEED my job, but a lot of these people do - and they're so scared to call in, that they routinely just come on in.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    This is why we have a couple of staff who are literally on-call: they work only when other staff are off, whether for vacation or illness. This is also why sometimes the administrator and/or I wind up working the floor ourselves; I'd much rather not have sick folks running around infecting the residents!
  7. by   banditrn
    Quote from mjlrn97
    This is why we have a couple of staff who are literally on-call: they work only when other staff are off, whether for vacation or illness. This is also why sometimes the administrator and/or I wind up working the floor ourselves; I'd much rather not have sick folks running around infecting the residents!
    You have addressed the issue and formed a contingency plan, which is wonderful!! If I were to ever take a DON job, I'd want to be like you.

    I've thought about taking a DON position, but decided that I don't have enough experience in LTC - not quite 6 months at this point.
  8. by   DutchgirlRN
    They would have to fire me because I refuse to work sick (when I'm contagious). I am fortunate in that where I work they don't want us coming in if were sick. It's harder to find a replacement mid-shift and they don't want anyone spreading germs by coming in sick. I would think it would be against the law to not let you call in sick. I'd call the labor board and ask. If the DON will tech but not nurse I'd be willing to bet she has lost her skills, otherwise it makes no sense what-so-ever. Call the Labor Board ASAP.
  9. by   nurse_clown
    [font="comic sans ms"]at both my jobs, we have to call in within a reasonable time frame. i think it's four hours. sometimes, they can't find anyone but we don't have to find our own replacements. once, my charge nurse called me to tell me they couldn't find anyone and asked if i could do an eight hour shift instead of a 12 but i couldn't. and it's a good thing i insisted i was sick because the next day, i was diagnosed with pneumonia. another time, i went to work sick and i looked too sick to work. yep! boy did i look ugly. i was sweating buckets and hurling in the bathroom. my teeth were chattering. they couldn't keep me there. most of the time, i'm pretty reliable and hardly ever call in sick. but when i get sick....
  10. by   Euskadi1946
    I remember once that a fellow employee just felt that the place would fall apart if she didn't come in and work while she was sick. She had the flu so bad and eventuallly passed her germs on and everyone in the department was getting ill. I got so ill with the flu that year and missed several days of work. When I came back to work, I wrote her up and asked the manager to PLEASE not allow people who are contagious to come to work and infect us all. SHEESH!!! The gall of some people!!!
  11. by   Plagueis
    I also work in LTC, and if someone calls out sick, they don't have to find a replacement; the supervisor does. We have to give about 4 hours notice. Also, they try to over-schedule so that if someone calls out, it won't affect the staffing. They understand that everyone gets sick once in a while. I understand that some employees may abuse the call-out policy, but I don't think it should be my responsibility for the staffing at work. That is what the supervisor or work scheduler is for, so I don't think I should have to call around to find someone to replace me if I'm sick.
  12. by   jetscreamer101
    I don't want you to come to work if you're ill. And, no, I don't want you to bring in your sick kid because the sitter won't watch them and you don't want to miss anymore work. The charge nurse is responsible for replacing call-ins, with either off duty staff, or agency. If she can't replace them, the DON has to cover it. She's on call 24/7. Years ago at another facility, I became sick at the beginning of shift (6p-6a). Called the DON, and she told me to have the other nurse give me a shot of compazine and go rest for awhile till I felt better.
  13. by   Simplepleasures
    SAD
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Nov 27, '06
  14. by   brendamyheart
    Thank god I work in a place were a nurse was sick, she can stay home and get well.:angel2: :angel2: :angel2:

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