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How stupid did I look?

Updated | Posted
Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I started a new PT job in juvenile corrections. I had to call out the 2nd day d/t a horrific migraine causing me to vomit. I asked supv if I could make up the day the next day, she said OK.

Two weeks later I come down with a severe cold. I'm in work and I ask supv if I could come in on Thurs instead of Wed to give me a chance to recover. She was hesitant but agreed that would be OK.

Two weeks later I get the slammed with the FLU!! I sent an email explaining this and asking once again if I could rearrange days. The reply was "unacceptable....we've done this multiple times. Let me know if this job isn't going to work for you." I replied that I understood and that I wanted to make it work and I would do my best to be there.

With a stroke of luck I improved the next day and showed up for my scheduled two days. When I saw the supv I explained that this was not typical of me and that it's been an unfortunate few weeks.

That night I get a text from supv saying they had a call out and could I come in the next day. I replied "I really would love to but I'm still not 100%. Can you see if anyone else is available, if not, I will do it." 30 minutes later, she says no one else can do. My heart sank because the reality is that I was still really not well. I ended up calling her and saying, I really need time to recover, but how stupid did I look by saying I would do it and then saying no.

Truth is, she hadn't really contacted everyone else and so I feel like she was testing me. Of course I'm feeling awful about how things have started off at this job. I guess this was more of a rant and the only thing I can do is try to prove myself going forward but it's created extra anxiety as I feel like everything I do now will be overly scrutinized. Help!

Dear Anxiety,

So within approximately one month of starting a new job as a part time employee, you called off sick 3 times. Yes, it would have been wise to go in when they asked you to help out to even the score a bit.

They have you pegged as unreliable and to turn that around you have to become reliable. That takes time and building up a good attendance record over time.

So, moving forward, forgive yourself. Tell yourself you did the best you could under the circumstances. Lose the anxiety. You cannot change the past and the best thing is to focus on today and be an excellent nurse and employee.

Best wishes, my friend

Nurse Beth

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