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When you call in sick...

Nurses   (13,753 Views | 69 Replies)

Butternut specializes in Big Variety.

2,938 Profile Views; 62 Posts

Do you give details such as symptoms (vomiting, fever, cough, diarrhea, etc)

or do you just tell them that you are "sick" and won't be in?

If you know that you won't be working the next day either, how soon do you let them know that you're still sick?

Do you feel believed? Do they question you for more info? Are you frowned upon for being a sick nurse?

Do you feel that you have to thoroughly give enough excuse to be off sick, as if you feel guilty or are made to feel guilty?

When patients cough in your face every time you are near their bed, do you hand them a tissue and ask them to please cover their mouths when they cough?

What are other ways you keep from continually getting sick from patients, in addition to good handwashing?

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BittyBabyGrower is a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU, PICU, educator.

1,823 Posts; 13,026 Profile Views

I just say...I'm not coming in. End of story. If I know that I am going to be out for 2 days I call in for 2 days. Whether someone believes me or not, I really don't care, if I am sick I am sick and that is all there is to it.

Where I work, we don't question each other or make someone feel guilty. We will tease on the phone and say...Oh, you can't call in,nope, can't do it. But we never give each other the third degree.

A typical call goes....Hello, can I speak to the Charge Nurse? Hello, this is the Charge Nurse. I'm calling in for 7a-7p. Okay, hope you feel better, do you need transferred to Nursing Office. Yep. Bye.

As for the getting sick...sometimes you just have to build up those antibodies! When people are hacking and sneezing we do tell them cover up!

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Marie_LPN, RN is a LPN, RN and specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

12,126 Posts; 32,648 Profile Views

I give details to a point. Because typically when i have something, 5 other people have the same thing.

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15 Posts; 1,003 Profile Views

I'm always upfront what is wrong with me when I call in. Sometimes I will exagerate the symtoms a little to make sure the understand that I am sick.

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RN4NICU has 15 years experience as a LPN, LVN.

1,711 Posts; 7,087 Profile Views

I just say...I'm not coming in. End of story. If I know that I am going to be out for 2 days I call in for 2 days. Whether someone believes me or not, I really don't care, if I am sick I am sick and that is all there is to it.

Where I work, we don't question each other or make someone feel guilty. We will tease on the phone and say...Oh, you can't call in,nope, can't do it. But we never give each other the third degree.

A typical call goes....Hello, can I speak to the Charge Nurse? Hello, this is the Charge Nurse. I'm calling in for 7a-7p. Okay, hope you feel better, do you need transferred to Nursing Office. Yep. Bye.

As for the getting sick...sometimes you just have to build up those antibodies! When people are hacking and sneezing we do tell them cover up!

I think we benefit from our unit a little here - our cold or flu virus could make a little preemie deathly ill. Plus, my coworkers get rather angry when nurses come into work sick because it puts them at risk of getting sick and it winds up circulating through the whole unit - as we work in close physical proximity to one another.

We are very quick to get onto visitors about hacking and sneezing in the unit. We tell them, in order to protect the babies (and us), they will need to put on a mask or leave the unit. Most of them don't think twice about it. Especially after we point out that if baby catches something, the complications will set back the going-home date.

I would not put up with adults patient coughing in my face. I would hand them tissues and tell them to cover up, If they refused to comply, I would wear a mask. Gotta take care of yourself - no one else is going to.

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cursenurse has 11 years experience and specializes in LTC, ER.

391 Posts; 4,032 Profile Views

i dont call in often but when i do, i usually give period related symptoms. i find that keeps people from asking for alot of details. i feel that you shouldn't feel quilty for taking sick days, that's what they are for, however i have felt that it is much more acceptable to call in with a physical complaint than it is to call in because you need a mental health day:o . as for patients coughing, i duck alot and tell people they need to cover their mouth or wash their hands, or whatever. i also wear gloves when i know i'm dealing with a person that isn't very clean-someone that doesn't wash their hands after using the toilet or blowing their nose, etc.

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3 Posts; 569 Profile Views

Our previous manager would always give us the third degree if we called in sick. She made a policy for our unit that if you called in, you called in to her no matter what time a day. She had a bad habit of not calling you back if you paged her because her theory was if she didn't contact you, you couldn't call in. Our manager now doesn't do that, if we have to call in now, we call the house supervisor if she is not in. The problem now is that when we go back there is always somenone who tries to makes you feel guilty. Don't get me wrong, I only call in about once or twice a year, but I shouldn't have to feel guilty about it. When I do call in, I'm usually sick enough that I would rather feel good and be at work. That's pretty darn sick.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,952 Posts; 173,060 Profile Views

When I call in, I share just enough details to elicit sympathy from the Charge nurse. If I'm going to be off for awhile, I make a point of calling my manager or assistant nurse manager and explaining to her. (Or him as the case may be). I've gone through periods where I've NEVER been sick, but this year has not been one of those. Shingles twice, and a famous episode in the ER to R/O an MI. With the shingles, I had a doctor's note and although management insisted they didn't need it, I found it smoothed things over. With the ER visit, I also had a note, but by the time I got back to work, HUBBY had already spread all the details around the unit!

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

165 Articles; 21,045 Posts; 195,099 Profile Views

Knock on wood - I have only called in once in 8 years. However, it is the current policy of the unit that you must give a general idea of what is wrong with you. Not the gory details, just: the flu, stomach virus, etc.. As to people coughing and hacking on you - I work in the ER and it happens a lot. Although you want and encourage use of tissues and covering one's mouth - you don't always get it.

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35 Posts; 1,107 Profile Views

Before i became a RN i worked as an AIN in a nursing home. People rarely called in sick at our workplace. ever. We were subject to interrogations about the exact nature of our illness, and frequently told we were not "sick enough" to miss work. Also after calling in sick you would inevitably find that suddenly your shifts had been cut off the next week's roster. Many people could not afford their shifts to be cut, and so came to work sick. I remember a time during a gastro outbreak seeing many nursing and domestic staff coming to work extremely ill becuase they were scared to call in sick. Of course this resulted in infecting even more staff, and our elderly residents. It was awful. People would ring up in the morning explaining they had the gastro bug, and the boss would tell them they'd be fine by the afternoon and had to come to work. I also remember a nurse who had just found out her father had died, and our boss refused to let her go home, telling her she'd be better off to stay at work and take her mind off it! I couldn't believe it!

Thankfully i work in a much nicer environment now where they understand that you occasionally are sick, and dont' punish you for it by taking your shifts away or qeustion you about every detail of your illness.

Skye :)

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70 Posts; 2,307 Profile Views

Under privacy and protection laws, you don't need to give the reason for illness - only that you are ill and will not be at work. The manager has the right to request medical information to be provided - but again, that should not contain confidential medical information, only that you attended medical attention and the duration of your absence.

Medical information should only be shared amoung the persons with a medical interest in your particular instance (your physician and the work site occupational health department). Your manager is acting in the role of human resources and is only privy to the information that you are under a doctor's care and the date of return to duty.

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RN4NICU has 15 years experience as a LPN, LVN.

1,711 Posts; 7,087 Profile Views

Before i became a RN i worked as an AIN in a nursing home. People rarely called in sick at our workplace. ever. We were subject to interrogations about the exact nature of our illness, and frequently told we were not "sick enough" to miss work. Also after calling in sick you would inevitably find that suddenly your shifts had been cut off the next week's roster. Many people could not afford their shifts to be cut, and so came to work sick. I remember a time during a gastro outbreak seeing many nursing and domestic staff coming to work extremely ill becuase they were scared to call in sick. Of course this resulted in infecting even more staff, and our elderly residents. It was awful. People would ring up in the morning explaining they had the gastro bug, and the boss would tell them they'd be fine by the afternoon and had to come to work. I also remember a nurse who had just found out her father had died, and our boss refused to let her go home, telling her she'd be better off to stay at work and take her mind off it! I couldn't believe it!

Thankfully i work in a much nicer environment now where they understand that you occasionally are sick, and dont' punish you for it by taking your shifts away or qeustion you about every detail of your illness.

Skye :)

I don't see how they retained their staff (the first place). That is completely unacceptable. I would find another job before I would stand for being treated like a child or a slave.

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