This is the Best Medical Work Excuse Ever Written

As much as I hate to make accusations, I swear some of my patients show up in the emergency department for the sole purpose of obtaining a note excusing them from work. In fact, this isn’t even an accusation because some of them tell me the reason for their visit is an authorized day to play hooky rather than the purported cough and sniffles. Diagnosis? Ferris Bueller Syndrome.

Writing unnecessary work excuses quite frankly enrages me to the core. It hits on my sense of self worth. Did I really go to school this long just to write work excuses? Not to mention, I show up at the hospital when I’m personally feeling under the weather. It’s called responsibility. Can’t employers hire employees they trust rather than make them turn in a note to claim a sick day? So 9th grade. This wastes my time, the employee’s time, exposes an entire waiting room to the virus at hand and costs precious healthcare dollars. All for a case of rhinovirus. Sigh.

Like me, one physician in Canada had finally had it with fake illnesses, unnecessary office visits, and writing work excuses. So, this Nova Scotia doc drafted the response of a lifetime. For your reading pleasure:


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2 thoughts on “This is the Best Medical Work Excuse Ever Written”

  1. There is not a concrete, fail-proof answer to this, as we all know. My employer requires a physician note after three days of absence for illness. Undoubtedly implemented to prevent employees from taking off time who are not really ill or only mildly ill. On the other hand, this does create a burden on the healthcare system at large, not to mention on the really sick employee who just needs a few more days at home to recover. I think the idea of charging the business has some merit, actually. And for the patient who shows up requesting a note to play hooky – they, not their insurance needs to pay for that one, but again, how to implement such a program is the challenge. Personally, (very personally), my ire goes way up when I think about hard-working EDs or physician offices dealing with such individuals.

  2. Lori Ann Soteros, FNP-C

    An interesting and valid point of discussion. I take “pride” in the fact that I can say I have not missed one single day of work in over 10 consecutive years of employment. Not because I was never ill, but because I either worked even when I didn’t feel up to par, or because I was fortunate to be able to trade a day or two with a co-worker in times of need and willing to reciprocate. I strongly believe that when I am scheduled to work, I am expected to be there to do my share.
    However, while reading the article above, it occurred to me that if you look into the lives of those who miss work frequently, go to ERs or physician offices for excuses from work, there is usually, or at least sometimes, a real, valid reason underneath it all that compels the person to go to that extreme to get an excuse. Our lives can be overwhelming with stress and stress can affect our bodies exactly like a virus or bacteria with real ill feelings of fatigue, headache, nausea, and general malaise. Just something to think about.
    Maybe I should not look at myself as a “responsible and reliable” employee, somehow “above” those who do miss work, but rather just “fortunate” to have a life that does not “force” me to go to that extreme, or that I am capable and able to deal with it more efficiently than some others? After all, isn’t healthcare supposed to be a compassionate field?
    There was a time when my 6 year old son went to the nurses office 13 times in one month. He was not clinically ill, but his parents, myself and ex-husband, were going through divorce.

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