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Sick of school?

--The names and places in this post have been changed to protect the innocent--

Ok, the title can be a bit deceiving. Today I am home from work feeling like complete dirt. When I feel like this I cannot think, much less provide competent care. So I opted out of today. Sound reasonable?

What I wanted to talk about are those days in nursing school when you really are sick. In my school, you could miss one day in a trimester. And you better hope it wasn't a clinical day. I recall many an incident where a student, who really should have been home, was exposing patients to illness because they feared missing anything and having to repeat a semester. And illness wasn't the only thing people missed in order to keep from missing school. Let me count the ways:

  1. An obviously ill student, wrapped in the warmest clothing possible to avoid shivering and being called out of class. By the time they were identified, the fever was up to 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit (40.2 degrees Celsius). Their instructor gave them 400mg ibuprofen and kept them going.

  2. A student in a car accident on the way to a study group refused the ambulance, attended the study group, and borrowed a car to attend class the next day despite recurrent severe migraines.

  3. A student refused to leave clinical despite severe abdominal pain. The same student spent 2 nights in the hospital after emergency surgery and left AMA because they had missed the one day they were allowed for the semester.

  4. A student in the middle of their clinical check-off exam was interrupted by a police officer who interrupted the exam for 5 minutes to tell her her son was in the hospital after an MVA. She tried to finish the exam, however, she was told that the interruption disqualified her and she would have to repeat the semester.

We are told this was to make us better nurses. This would give us a strong work ethic. However, it only seems to encourage nurses that harm themselves, neglect their family and put the patient first.....wait, this does not benefit the patient. A sick, depressed, or distracted nurse put's the patient in harm's way. The only thing this truly benefits is our employers. I do understand that it also puts an additional load on your other employees, however, I doubt any one of them wants you to get them sick. I would also want each of them to be able to care for their family if they were needed.

That being said, maybe there are other schools out there that don't have these policies. If so, please share your input. Cheers! -Daniel

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