Calling in Sick
Last Saturday, I called in sick. That's very unusual for me. I never call in sick. I never miss work. This time I did. I have probably gone to work when I shouldn't have rather than call in sick. I can think of a few times in past months when I wished I had called in sick. This time I just felt bad and didn't have the energy to pretend otherwise.
My facility doesn't divide time off into sick time and vacation. We get paid time off (PTO) to use however we choose. Had I called in during the week ,I would have had to use one of those days to be paid. That policy has probably contributed more to sick people coming to work than anything else. I'm not saying people don't call in for other reasons. Just with that policy, the reason doesn't matter - it still costs PTO time.
Every one defines sick differently. I go with the basic definition of unable to work or tolerate being at work. Usually this only happens when I lose my voice, which happens about once a year. Others define sick more liberally. They also call in more often. I work with a few individuals who are sick much more than the rest of us. Their immune systems must be very weak.
Going into work enables the disease to be spread. Colds are one thing. They spread like wildfire no matter which precautions are taken. The flu is another matter. It can be contained as long as the sick person stays away from others. This is problematic in a hospital with hundreds of visitors a day. Even if staff is careful, no one is policing the visitors.
My biggest problem with calling in sick is feeling guilty. I worry that there won't be enough staff. I worry that my patients won't get seen. Once I make the decision to stay home, I enter an ongoing debate with myself about whether I was really sick enough to stay home. I only feel justified if I spend the day sleeping or unable to breathe.
I felt much better the next day. I felt justified that I had stayed home. That in itself made me feel better.