When You Get Sick
If you are truly sick, stay home. Don't bring your germs to work; your coworkers and your patients really don't want to share your germs. See your doctor if necessary. Get rest and drink fluids so that you can get well as soon as possible. In an already short staffed environment, they need you back at work.
Colds and flu will make their rounds. Be sure to get a flu shot when available. A pneumonia vaccine may also be advisable especially if you work on a medical floor where you can find yourself exposed more often than other nurses. Discuss this with your physician. Do your best to avoid exposure and to keep yourself healthy. Reduce your stress, improve your nutritional habits, and get plenty of fluids and sleep. Don't let yourself get run down.
You also need to use your time off wisely. Don't call off and play hooky. Show up for work as scheduled, and when you have paid time off available to you, request time off in advance for recreational activities. Once in a while, you will really need a mental health day, and this can be a legitimate reason to stay home, but again try to use your time wisely. Use your days off to provide yourself a mental and physical break from health care. Try to schedule your household duties during the week before or after work. If you are organized, these duties shouldn't pile up on you so that you have to spend your entire day off doing laundry.
Don't try to overextend yourself. Some nurses work three twelve-hour shifts a week at one hospital and two or three shifts more at another. This may make you a lot of money, but it can wear you down and burn you out quickly. Be reasonable and realistic. Sooner or later those who overextend themselves hit a brick wall. That's when mistakes and injuries are more likely to happen. Take care of yourself, and if you are sick, keep your germs at home.