Nursing Lifestyle

Don't Feel Guilty: Calling in Sick as a Nurse

Don't Feel Guilty: Calling in Sick as a Nurse

Nursing is one of the most demanding careers, as they work their entire shift standing, walking, and running, depending on the circumstance. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pursue this career. Hospitals or any healthcare facility need a nurse to function as they are the backbone of any medical institution.

Here are some of the responsibilities of a nurse:

  • Nurses are the first point of contact in the hospital, which is a very critical responsibility. When patients are brought to the emergency room, nurses will be the first one to give first aid to make sure the patient will survive.
  • Nurses will determine what immediate actions need to be taken to ensure quality health care.
  • Nurses make sure that there is enough staff to cover an entire shift.
  • Since nurses will have the first contact with the patients, they must make sure that the patient will feel secure and confident in entrusting their lives.
  • Nurses are also responsible for making sure that correct medications and treatment are given to the patient.
  • They coordinate with the doctors and other healthcare practitioners to make sure correct information about the patient is relayed.

When do nurses call in sick?

Being sick or feeling physically exhausted is normal for everyone to feel. Everyone should have the freedom to call in sick when they are not feeling well and go to the hospital for the much-needed care and medication. But what if the people who are expected to care for you also call in sick? What are the acceptable reasons for calling in sick?

  • When nurses are suffering from a viral or any communicable disease: This is a very obvious reason. Nurses should not be the one to contaminate the hospital with any viral disease that may be passed on to the patients or everyone who comes in and out of the hospital. Fever that comes with a sore throat, cough, runny nose, body aches, chills, and headaches are all symptoms to look out for.
  • Emotionally Unstable: As professionals, it is unacceptable to let emotions cloud a person’s judgment. This is applicable to everyone who works, but as medical practitioners, nurses are advised to call in sick when they are emotionally bothered or unstable. The life of patients in the hospital is in their hands, and if they are not able to focus, the risk is higher. A mistake in a dose of medicine will have a significant impact on the life of a patient. The hospital can be full of emotions too, from handling the patients who are diagnosed with a disease that cannot be cured to handling the relatives of a dying patient. Nurses should be able to cope with these emotions. Patients can be harsh on them too and can say hurtful words to them, so it is important to set their minds and emotions straight before they go back to work.
  • Psychological Imbalance: Nurses should be at their 100% best when they are at work. They should be mentally fit to be able to give medications, care, and aid to doctors and patients. Hospitals should be careful in employing nurses; they should make sure that hired nurses are mentally fit to cope with the demand for work.
  • Demotivated at work: Yes, this might seem childish, but everyone feels the need to take a break. Nursing is a very stressful field, and the demand for time and effort should not be taken for granted. Some nurses stay at the hospital more than their required shift. When their efforts are not being recognized, there is a possibility for them to be demotivated. When they feel demotivated, there is always a possibility of calling in and tell their supervisors that they feel sick. Sometimes it's important to take a day off to think about their career growth.

Why do nurses feel guilty when they call in sick?

When they are feeling a little bit under the weather, nurses choose to go to work rather than staying in bed for a rest. They cannot afford to miss a day at work for several reasons. Some nurses would still show up for work if they feel that they can tolerate a mild sore throat and headache. But other than the physical aspects that may hinder them from coming to work, here are some reasons why they feel guilty calling in sick:

  • Dedication to work: Working as a nurse requires 100% dedication. Nurses feel guilty when they don’t come to work because choosing this job means being available when you are needed. They should prioritize the welfare of the patients over their own.
  • Understaffed: When nurses show their dedication to their field, it will be natural for them to be concerned about staffing. They anticipate the drawbacks of a hospital being understaffed. So, what are the effects of having an understaffed hospital?
    • Lesser staff means higher chances of death.
    • Lesser staff may also mean compromising the quality of service.
    • Lesser staff may also result in nurses being prone to errors.
  • No work, no pay policy: When presented with reality, people work to earn. Some hospitals do not offer paid-time off. In general, with the responsibilities in mind, everyone will feel guilty not coming to work. A day off work will have a big impact on the budget, especially if you are the only one responsible for paying the bills or someone else in the family is dependent on your income.
  • Sick leaves  are merited on your performance evaluation: During the performance evaluation, the number of absences incurred is recorded and will be discussed. The number of absences a nurse had is actually a measure of dependability. Hospitals need someone who is very dependable when it comes down to attendance because of the nature of their work. In some cases, absences may even cause termination.
  • They enjoy the nursing field: Work should be something enjoyable, as it will consume 90% of their day, so better find a job that is worth the time. When nurses enjoy what they are doing, there are several reasons why:
  • They enjoy the nature of work: Nurses tend to feel guilty about not coming to work when they enjoy what they do because they are concerned about the welfare of the patients.
  • They enjoy being with their colleagues: Since nurses enjoy the company of their colleagues, they feel guilty not coming to work because they are concerned about the doubled effort they have to put when one is out.

Final thoughts

Nurses play an important role in the society, and they are needed everywhere, even a multinational company needs a nurse to care for their employees. Nurses carry a heavy load on their shoulder since the lives of people depend on their capability, knowledge, and skills as a nurse. It is natural for them to feel guilty whenever they call in sick because of their determination to help others, and their commitment to work is very commendable. They choose to come in to work even if they are not feeling well because they feel guilty about the effects of calling in sick. Some may not appreciate them, but many are still thankful that they are always ready to help.