How Nurses Get Sick


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I am writing today’s Blog from Bedroom Head Quarters. With Romeo in bed with me and my laptop on my lap, I have no voice today, but my fingers are still work.

Last night around 8 Pm I started having trouble talking. At 3 AM I woke up to the feeling like I had razor blades in my throat. So next came the phone call, you know who was not going to work today. It was no surprise when I called into work, you see we have staff off sick right now. You guessed it. Cold like symptoms. The Flu was last month.

Well, since this Blog is written by a Nurse, lets talk about that.

First, I have to tell you a little about the place I work. I work in Long Term Care (LTC). I have had a lot of different jobs, from community, hospital, psychiatry, retirement and other LTC homes.  This job is the best job I have ever had.

I am not in management, I gave that up after 4.5 years of it and became a Unit Nurse again. So yes, there is still a bit of management there. I am responsible for my Unit, my resident and my staff while I am there. But I don`t sit in the office chair anymore. I am on the Unit with the residents and staff, where I prefer to be.

This is the best job, because of the people I work with. I am proud to work with them. They each in every way do some thing that is special that provides care for our residents. They don`t just do their job, they take pride in doing it well. They also treat each other with kindness and respect, the same way they treat our resident, families and out side-staff that come in.

Sounds a like a nice place to work. It is. It is also a place that a great deal of care goes into keeping everyone healthy, resident and staff. Our house keeping staff and maintenance staff spend many hours a day, keeping everything clean. By clean I don’t means just that fact that our side walks are clear of snow and our floors are polished daily. I mean keeping the bacteria down with sanitizing every thing including our door handles.

Our nursing staff wash our hands, use gloves and hand sanitizers, masks, get flu shots and stay home when we are sick. We isolate our resident when they are sick to give them a place to quietly rest and not spread infection to our other residents. We also post sign for anyone coming into the home so they know if we have a flu or respiratory our break.

That`s just the surface of what we do. And yet, we still get sick. The resident and the staff. How you ask… Well that`s the part I am going to share with you.

You see most of our resident don`t leave the home. First, they may not be able to and second, with an exception of a very few things, we provide everything you can think of there, for them. We are not a small home, we are a very large home placed on seven archers of land.

So if the residents aren`t going out, it means only one thing, The Colds and Flu`s are being brought in. Staff has families too, and yes we make contact with colds and flu`s from our families, but most of the time when nurses get sick, you got it, we get it from taking care of the sick.

And how did it get brought in to the home, UT-OH… I am about to tell you….

Well you know when you had that little bit of a sore throat or when you just didn’t feel quiet right but you didn’t actually feel sick and you stopped by to see mom or grama in the home. Then a couple of days later you were not feeling so well. Well you brought it with you. And now grama has it too  and so does her room-mate. Now grama and her room-mate need additional care because they is sick.

The nursing staff is attending more to grama`s needs because the elderly are very frail  when it comes to colds that can easily lead to pneumonia and the flu, that can lead to dehydration and yes, both can lead to hospitalization or death.

So to prevent those very bad things that can happen, the staff is extra diligent to make sure that grama and mom are taken care of.  That they are eating, drinking and all those things like, getting extra Tylenol to keep their fever down and get ride of body aches. Monitoring their temperatures and listening to their chest. And yes out-put, I do mean bodily functions. You have the picture, I am sure.

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We are in with the residents when they are isolated, so they can get some quiet rest and not spread it to the other resident who are also frail.

And then … The Nurses Get Sick. And so does that house keeper who is also in a working where the residents and staff our sick. So does the dietary staff, the laundry staff, the social worker, the recreation staff, the hair dresser and that guy who goes out in the snow storm to removes the snow so you can park your car, he gets sick too. Remember that great staff that I told you about, those one that all do an important part of caring for the residents, they all are risk of getting sick.

Is it all your fault, of course not.The staff have families too and we get sick too. We stay home when we are sick and then we are the risk of being short-staffed.

We struggle to give extra care to our residents when we are short-staffed. But, the care still gets done, because we don`t want to get more resident sick and we want our resident well.

So from the Nurse who is now home in bed with a box if tissues, Tylenol and nasal rinse, If you are not feeling well, please feel free to call and check on your family member. We will be happy to return that call and give you an update. We also don`t mind passing on a message to your loved one.

But please, when you are not feeling well or think you may not be, don`t come to the home. Please help us to keep your loved one well and also us, who chose to do this job of caring for them. After all we did chose to do our jobs and we actually would rather be there with them, caring for them, than home with a box of tissues.

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Thank you, from the Nurse who would much rather be at work.








15 thoughts on “How Nurses Get Sick

  1. I hope you begin to feel better soon ~ every sentence resonated with me as we have just had the norovirus bug at ‘The Workplace’ 10 members of staff sick ….long, long shifts for those who were still well, now everyone is back at work the ones (such as myself) who had to do extra shifts are being given leave so as not to end up run into the ground, so next week I have an ‘easy’ week, now you rest and get well soon x


      1. My mom was a nurse, my sister is a nurse and several cousins are nurses We were made aware at very young ages. We were always taught that if we were at a Christening (Italian families have big parties) we were only allowed to kiss the baby on the bottom of its foot and that’s how I raised my children. Many mothers thanked me for that.

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  2. Its so hard as a nurse to balance the loyalty to your patients and staying home to not spread germs. Its something I struggle with because its not like I HAVE to stay home, I am physically capable of working, its a question of safety. I had shigella a couple of years ago and I was afraid to tell my job what I really had. I stayed home until I was sure I was better (the only sick days I have ever taken). My supervisor called me and begged me to see one patient at their home. I didn’t feel like I could refuse. It was a hard situation.

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    1. Where I work, you will get sent home. I am thankful that i don’t have to make that decision, it has already been made for me. That being said, you still feel bad for the place running short staffed.


  3. I feel your pain! I work nights full time and my whole off week I was sick with the cold/flu whatever it is! My boyfriend tried to “nurse me to health” coincidentally enough haha I would make a horrible patient. HOpe you are feeling better.


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