Daily Archives

March 24, 2016

Nurse, we insist you come to work sick. For the good of the patients.

By | Advocacy, Nursing | 9 Comments

This actually happened today:

Mini rant: I’ve got influenza A. My boss asked if I was still coming to work tomorrow. I was sent home yesterday after an hour, came home and slept all day and all night. Went to urgent care, they took one look at me and sent me to the ER where I received IV hydration and 2 breathing treatments, plus meds for my pleuritic pain. I texted my boss and let him know what was going on. He goes “we really need you to come in tomorrow because 3 people are out on vacation“. So, I guess I’m going in tomorrow, flu and all.

Yes, you read that correctly. She required medical intervention including IV hydration and nebulizer treatments.  sicknursetemp

The supervisor in a healthcare environment told a nurse to come to work anyway, and expose her patients to Influenza A.  These patients could be immunocompromised, frail elderly, vulnerable children, or pregnant women.  Perhaps the strain is one not covered by the flu vaccine, and contagious to literally everyone.  Either way, we are not at our best when we are ill.  Patient care will suffer.  You may make a medication error because of confusion secondary to hyperthermia.  And all that.

Every single day, nurses are strongly ‘encouraged’ through guilt, restrictive attendance policies, and frank threats to come to work sick.  This phenomenon is known as presenteeism.  Great article here.  I work for the federal government now, and get 12.5 days per year of sick time. When I worked in the private sector, I could have been written up for five absences in a year. We work in an environment which pretty well guarantees that we will be constantly exposed to nasty viruses, and missing five days out of 365 is considered serious enough for disciplinary action.  Even if you pick up 2 shifts a week; Because helping out your understaffed department is never taken into consideration when you get a few absences. For that matter, with many employers if you call in sick on a Monday, drag yourself into work on Tuesday, and are just too sick to work on Wednesday, you are charged two ‘absences’ when you would have been charged one if you stayed home for three days in a row.  

Because, healthcare organizations make total sense.

I am going to present this to you, again.  I am not going to stop saying it either.flu

You, Nurse are not responsible for the failure of your organization to develop and implement a staffing plan for dangerously short-staffed periods.  They can pay agency staff, period.  Your employer demanding that you expose vulnerable patients to your plague is inappropriate and an extremely poor business practice. 

You are not abandoning and/or neglecting your patients because you have the flu.  You are a patient today.  You drive a regular car and live in a regular house.  You are not driving a Maserati and vacationing in Monaco.  That is because you do not own the place.  The people who own the place are responsible for the staffing level, and having a plan to staff the facility if absences happen.  Also, perhaps they should not have approved vacation for three people during the same week. As the old saying goes, “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an automatic emergency on my part”.

Stand together, direct patient care staff.  We have to make these companies responsible for their own business, their own staffing, and their own conscience.  

Here is a handout from the CDC to give to your employer the next time they tell you to come to work with the flu.






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Bangladesh News!

By | Advocacy, Education, Good Works, International Nursing | 4 Comments

I am amazingly excited! I got to speak to Dr Kislu Kabir today.  We have started to hammer out details for the trip, and so far we have talked about the following:

  • He wants 12-20 people and students are welcome.
  • Our main mission in Bangladesh will be education.  Nursing is quite primitive in this country, and their “Minister of Health” (Not the real title, it is essentially the equivalent of our surgeon general) is interested in expanding nursing practice and education.  This is a wonderful opportunity to improve healthcare globally.  Documentation is one of the topics we will teach, as well as some infection control concerns, and hands-on nursing skills.  Specifics are forthcoming.
  • The Bangladeshi Government has contracted with the local police force to escort us from the hospital to our lodgings and back.  They want to make sure we aren’t subject to pickpocketing or the like.
  • Dr Kabir agrees that All nurses are welcome, and nurse educators are ESPECIALLY welcome.  If you are an educator and feel like a mission trip is not in your future, this one is specifically perfect for you!
  • We are building an ongoing connection with this region.  This is our first trip.1923508_1700940056862109_231069368571631479_n


Have you made your profile on HireNurses yet? Don’t assume you cannot afford it.  We feel like we will get quite a bit of support, and we want the very best nurses for the people of Bangladesh.




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