About me
Archive
About me

Nurses off sick 16 days per year

close

Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

The Observer seems slightly shocked that nurses top the league table of public sector workers taking sick days off work, leaving wards understaffed. Rachel Downey, who calls herself a ‘nursing commentator’ (sounds a demanding job), says this is because they work so hard:

‘Their job is physically and emotionally demanding and becoming more so,’ she added. ‘The pressure on them has increased as demands have risen because of new targets and rising expectations from patients.’

As hard as nurses work (and they do work exceptionally hard), this isn’t the reason for the increased sickness abscence. It’s a simple answer to a simple question: Nurses are off a lot because of the extremely strict rules governing when they are allowed to come into work. Healthcare staff aren’t allowed anywhere near a hospital ward for forty-eight hours after having diarrhoea, for example. I’m sure public sector workers at the Inland Revenue don’t have to have two days off because they had a dodgy curry on their last night out, but for nurses it’s a necessity to ensure that they don’t spread illness amongst the patients.

Similarly, you might not mind a snivelling full-of-cold council worker on the end of the phone, but you’d be less than impressed if the nurse looking after you was coughing and sneezing into your open wounds.

So it’s hardly surprising that nurses end up taking more time off work than those in other public sector professions, and so these are hardly ‘shock’ figures as the Observer claims, and I’m quite disappointed that they’ve decided to question the dedication of the nursing staff of the NHS rather than putting their brains and researchers into gear first.

This 643rd post was filed under: News and Comment.






More posts worth reading


Comments and responses

Comment from Samantha


by Samantha

Comment posted at 10:41 on 2nd January 2009.

I’m a dedicated and newly qualified nurse, I’m very professional and hard-working and reliable. However, I am working in appalling and ridiculous working-conditions. It is soul-destroying to say the least. Despite my efforts and managerial skills I am unable to change the attitudes of fellow colleagues who have accepted these conditions as part of working in the NHS. We need a good manager to do this so we can implement positive change. I have a baby to look after at home so I cannot put my energy into it anymore. I have been ill with anxiety to the point that I cannot eat or I will be sick! I have made the decision to leave on the grounds that family come first but as a positive thinker I’m sure there’s another nursing post out there for me 🙂

I think it is very reasonable to think that there are health professionals taking time off due to stress despite being so dedicated. And I think it is very reasonable to think that the more dedicated you are, and the more you care the more stressed you become.

Another thing…when health care professionals take time off sick due to diarrhoea, a stool sample should be sent to microbiology (according to trust policy). So there should be statistics to show how many HCP’s take time of because of diarrhoea? – It would be interesting to see if this is the sole reason why nurses top the table for sick time off amongst public service workers?


Compose a new comment



Comment

You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.



The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.