Susan A. Salladay PhD, RN

October 2011 
Volume 41  Number 10
Pages 10 - 10
  PDF Version Available!

Recurring illnesses and other issues have caused staffing problems on our unit to hit a new high. In response, our nurse manager devised a policy that makes staff nurses responsible for finding their own replacements if they become sick during their scheduled shift. Under the new policy, if they can't find a replacement, they can't leave.I developed flulike symptoms during my shift but I couldn't find anyone to come in or stay over, so I finished my shift. I wore a mask but I'm not sure how much good that did. When I said that I thought this policy was unsafe and unethical, the manager accused me of not being a team player. How can I get my point across?-A.Q., KAN.This haphazard approach to staffing problems and employee illness can seriously impact patient safety, and turning a blind eye to issues affecting patient safety is indeed an ethical issue. In addition, because many regulatory and patient safety organizations are focusing so strongly on preventing healthcare-associated infections,

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