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Setting the Precedent: Nurses Fired for Being Sick

Nurses Article News   (4,190 Views | 26 Replies | 839 Words)

Brenda F. Johnson has 28 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

5 Followers; 77 Articles; 105,809 Profile Views; 264 Posts

Are Nurses Punished for Being Sick?

Nurses spend their day taking care of patients, helping them get on the road to better health. But what happens to the nurse if she/he gets sick? There have been some very public cases of when a nurse was fired because they were sick. While we know this is ethically and morally wrong, what is the reality? You are reading page 2 of Setting the Precedent: Nurses Fired for Being Sick. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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Losing health insurance just when you need it most.  😕

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subee has 45 years experience as a MSN, CRNA.

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Nurses will be abused as long as we fail to control our numbers.

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JayHanig has 18 years experience and specializes in Orthopedics, Med-Surg.

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My employer set up a system where we were not allowed more than 4 absences in a calendar year.  You could stay out two contiguous days and it would count as one absence, but woe betide the person who called in one day, felt better and worked the next, then relapsed and called in on the third.  Two occurrences!

Well, they made up the rules.  I merely played by them.  I had a bulletin board in my kitchen at home.  On it was a sheet of paper where I'd faithfully record each absence and its date.

Before I called in, I checked the board to make sure I wasn't over the limit for the past 12 months.  Then no matter what, I took both days off.  As a date expired on the list, I'd mark through it, leaving only those in the 12 months up to that particular day I was contemplating staying home.

Nobody wants to be around a sick nurse, though the administration was dishonest about their policy.  If they truly wanted to encourage us to stay home when we were sick and potentially infectious, they wouldn't have punished us when we did.  But hey:  I can take a hint.  They really wanted Nurse Typhoid to come in no matter what.  They'd have banned sick days entirely if they could have gotten away with it.

Some days I was "sick of" rather than actually "sick" but I took full advantage of my four times a year.  Over 12 years there, I used every opportunity without once stepping over the line to earn a write up.

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Brenda F. Johnson has 28 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

5 Followers; 77 Articles; 264 Posts; 105,809 Profile Views

On 11/14/2019 at 7:35 PM, stimpie777 said:

Happened to me. I was being tested for a very high WBC. Seeing a hematologist and employer was notified. I had to take off early because i had to drive an hr and a half or so to my doctor every month. Also had migraines and nasal surgery. Treated me crappy for all of it. And yeah, they fired me. Kaiser is awesome. Wanted me to be seen by their doctors because they didn't believe me.

How is it not a HIPPA violation for the hematologist to notify your employer? That alone seems illegal

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Brenda F. Johnson has 28 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

5 Followers; 77 Articles; 264 Posts; 105,809 Profile Views

1 hour ago, JayHanig said:

My employer set up a system where we were not allowed more than 4 absences in a calendar year.  You could stay out two contiguous days and it would count as one absence, but woe betide the person who called in one day, felt better and worked the next, then relapsed and called in on the third.  Two occurrences!

Well, they made up the rules.  I merely played by them.  I had a bulletin board in my kitchen at home.  On it was a sheet of paper where I'd faithfully record each absence and its date.

Before I called in, I checked the board to make sure I wasn't over the limit for the past 12 months.  Then no matter what, I took both days off.  As a date expired on the list, I'd mark through it, leaving only those in the 12 months up to that particular day I was contemplating staying home.

Nobody wants to be around a sick nurse, though the administration was dishonest about their policy.  If they truly wanted to encourage us to stay home when we were sick and potentially infectious, they wouldn't have punished us when we did.  But hey:  I can take a hint.  They really wanted Nurse Typhoid to come in no matter what.  They'd have banned sick days entirely if they could have gotten away with it.

Some days I was "sick of" rather than actually "sick" but I took full advantage of my four times a year.  Over 12 years there, I used every opportunity without once stepping over the line to earn a write up.

Wow is all I have to say. Hard to believe some of the absentee rules out there.

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1 hour ago, Brenda F. Johnson said:

How is it not a HIPPA violation for the hematologist to notify your employer? That alone seems illegal

Hematologist didn't tell them anything.  Kaiser wanted me to see one of their doctors bc they didn't believe me. And i told them no, so when i finally got scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy- they decided to just let me go and a day before my birthday. 

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6 hours ago, subee said:

Nurses will be abused as long as we fail to control our numbers.

numbers of what?

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6 hours ago, subee said:

Nurses will be abused as long as we fail to control our numbers.

as long as we fail to UNIONIZE

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TXRN1012 specializes in Home Health & Hospice.

4 Posts; 26 Profile Views

The best action we can take is to VOTE!
Most states have done away with unions and have created “right to work” laws, which means that an employer can fire an employee “at will” - without explanation or notice. It also allows an employee to quit “at will” without notice.

Find out what the laws in your state say about this. Then vote out the legislators that support it. I don’t know how one would go about trying to become unionized, but it might be helpful to look at other states and see how it was done. 
 

On the flip side, I was threatened by a company that threatened to report me to the BON because I gave them 5 day’s notice instead of 2 weeks. They said they could report it as “unprofessional conduct.” I reminded them that Texas is an “at will” state and that it is also specifically highlighted in my contract. I also reminded them that I doubt I would have been given any notice if they had decided to fire me. They were lucky they got any notice. It was like working in a sweatshop!

In a nutshell, we have to fight at the ballot box if we want real change. Your state BON is a great source for what’s going on in your state regarding nursing laws and legislation. That’s a good place to start.

Edited by TXRN1012

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3 Followers; 4,560 Posts; 35,718 Profile Views

good advice

However, it is considered standard professional practice to give 2 weeks' notice.

How did it go after your talk with them?

A lot of people give 2 weeks' notice, then burn up their sick time instead of coming to work.  otherwise, they would not be able to use it.  

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Grammy Nurse specializes in Child Abuse particularly child SA.

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I am going through similar right now.  I've been in the same job, same position since 1994.  Have gone to conferences regularly to continue getting the current trends and information regarding STI/STDs, learning more about how victims feel especially those that have been involved with trafficking etc.  My psych nursing experience has always been a very  important factor.  Now, my spine has been degenerating and I have Fibromyalgia.  I still can do my job, but am a little slower, can't run and hop with the kids anymore and some days when there isn't a  medical scheduled in the early morning, I'll call in and report that I will be late d/t arthritis being very painful and fibromyalgia issues.  I am being forced to retire.  They began writing me up for bogus reasons.  HR recommended that I go on Intermittent FMLS and I did; however, my Director continues to make this a hostile working place for me.  I have worked since I was 15, and have never been written up for anything before.  They just want me gone, so I decided to retire so I wouldn't lose my pension.  I needed to work another year for better SS benefits.  Now, they act like I am important.  They had me help decide who would replace me and are getting worried that there won't be enough time for me to teach her 24 years of knowledge and experience.  I have been so loyal to my career here and the work we do and I feel like I've been betrayed by them now.  I believe my spine has been degenerating because of the lifting I do and the fibromyalgia is from the stress of seeing children hurt in so many ways.  I still am very glad I've dedicating a chunk of my life to my job and have helped many children and their families to heal. It has been very rewarding.  We have had a new, younger Director for several years now.  I keep wondering if she just wants "thirty something's" here.  My children are older than my Director. Could this possibly be one of the issues?

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

1 Follower; 4,961 Posts; 42,746 Profile Views

On 11/18/2019 at 10:19 AM, Grammy Nurse said:

 Now, are getting worried that there won't be enough time for me to teach her 24 years of knowledge and experience. 

You won’t... their loss.  I’m sorry this is happening  😢

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