Sick calls

sick-nurseSo I’m sitting listening to a conversation about sick calls and staffing in our department and one of the MDs starts talking with another MD about how ridiculous it is that nurses can call in sick.

He says “Could you imagine if we called in sick? That would be ridiculous. Nurses shouldn’t be allowed to call in sick.”

Hold. The. Overhead. Paging. System. Are you kidding me?

You can’t invoke the merits of equality when its convenient for you! MDs (at my hospital anyway) are an independent contractor, meaning, they are their own bosses. So usually, yes, when you work for yourself you really shouldn’t call in sick (but that’s really between you and your eval…). But the upside to that is you get to make your own schedule, call your own shots (every pun intended), make up your own prices, have your own lounge…etc., etc. I remember a nursing instructor told us in class once that nursing’s biggest mistake was that we became a “department” of the hospital.

I totally get it now.

When you are your own boss, you can charge for your services, make your own rules, or you are outta there. When you are a mere department of a hospital, well, I guess one of the perks is—you get to call in sick. Cough, cough—I feel feverish.

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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4 Responses to Sick calls

  1. I absolutley agree with you Rebekah….In addition to what you said, most hospitals have strict call-off policies, So, it’s not like a nurse decides “Hey! I don’t feel like working today…….I’m gonna call off sick!” I can’t tell you how many nurses are actually really sick and still come to work!!

  2. Thanks for saying this Rebekah. I think this speaks directly to the idea that nurses aren’t seen as real people sometimes. A hospital is a place where the sick go to get well — a place where nurses spend almost all their time. It would be absurd to suggest a nurse wouldn’t get sick – emotionally or physically – in a high-stress environment like a hospital. Thanks for speaking to this…and adding a little humor to the subject. :)

  3. To use internet speak – your argument owns. As if dealing with understaffing and overcrowding weren’t enough, we shouldn’t be forced to endanger ourselves (and our patients!) by coming in sick.

  4. Victor

    I absolutely agree. I went to work feeling awful. Nurse manager sent me to employee health and it ends up that I had walking Pneumonia. As I left my ward, i overheard an MD saying to another “another case of the sniffles?” and then they snickered. Boy, I was steamed!!!