But then, nurses are humans too. And they do get sick. And when that happens, I always feel that it is best for the nurse to stay home and rest, rather than force himself or herself to come to work.
Some nurses still do try to come to work despite not feeling well initially. Some reason out that they do not want to cause lack of staffing for the shift, that they do not want to make absences as it will reflect in their yearly performance evaluation, or simply saying that they still can work despite being ill.
I think that coming to work when one is not feeling well is a serious matter. A nurse’s job requires us to be alert and vigilant with patient’s conditions. We should also be in our clear minds (not drowsy after taking flu medicines) when we give our medications to our patients. And the patient themselves expect us to take care of them, and not them being worried that the nurse looking after them is also sick.
And what happens if the sick nurse who came to work, will feel that he cannot continue the shift because his condition is worsening, that he has to go home now. But unless another nurse comes in to relieve him, the co-nurses around will be left with additional patient loads, as the allocated patients of the sick nurse will be distributed to the remaining nurses on duty. And that means additional workload to the normal load of the other nurses. Good luck to the quality of their nursing care.
I wish all charge nurses understand that. So that when a staff nurse phones in, and informs that he or she cannot come to work because he or she is sick, he is not left with harsh words like “What? You’re sick? Oh my God, what’s going to happen with my staffing…” or something like that.
If the nurse is sick, let him rest. At the end of the day, it’s patient safety we are all after.