Few things are more annoying to nurses than coworkers calling off. This means that ratios go up, everyone has to do more work, and the shift has the potential to go to hell.
This feeling is even worse when the person calling off is someone that tends to call off a lot. Most nurses can forgive a call off or two for illness, but chronic call offs can definitely get the rumor mill going.
However, there are very good reasons for a nurse to call off on their shift, and many of these may not be considered by other nurses. All we can see is that we are short staffed, again… and the nurse that called off is at fault!
Here are some very good reasons for a nurse to call off chronically. It may be difficult to accept, but life outside of nursing does exist. It often gets in the way.
Family emergencies happen, but they don’t happen once a week. This isn’t necessarily true, though.
If a nurse is dealing with a family member who has a chronic illness, they may need to call off to take care of them. They should have care in place, but in some situations, the family member may need to go to the hospital or need special care.
This can be a particularly distressing reason for nurses because we would all like to stay home to take care of our relatives. Nurses tend to think they have to show up no matter what, and they can have a bad opinion of someone who does not.
The point is that those with chronic family emergencies aren’t necessarily making it up, and they deserve compassion, too. It is difficult to understand when you are swamped, but people have families that often need more care than they can give in their time off.
Nurses with chronic illness are more common than you may think. From fibromyalgia to back problems, these nurses may literally not be able to move.
All nurses work with some sort of aches and pains, but this goes beyond that. Not many nurses are aware that a hurt coworker could lose their job if they insist on workman’s comp.
Some would say that those with a chronic illness shouldn’t be working the floor and thus burdening their coworkers. There may be times, though, that the condition is under control.
In these times, the nurse may be an exceptional worker, but when they are in pain, they can’t make it in to work. Understanding chronic illness is something nurses do for patients, but extending that compassion to coworkers who call off is much more difficult.
Children are often the cause of unforeseen circumstances that can cause chronic call offs. If a child is having behavioral issues, your coworker may need to take time off to deal with the situation.
Another problem can be tension with a spouse, and they can’t make it in because they need to deal with their personal life first. Some nurses may even be in abusive situations and may need to hide their bruises from others.
Finally, an unforeseen circumstance may be trouble with finding transportation. Cars break down, and when they do, getting to work becomes infinitely more difficult.
Unfortunately, many nurses are not in the position to buy a new car and attempt to baby their car along until they can. Until then, though, they have no way to actually get to work, and this can cause them to call off frequently.