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How to get a doctor's note for work

How to get a doctor’s note for work?

Whether you’re a worker or a student, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to take time off for an illness or injury at some stage. In fact, it is shown that 74% of American adults have taken at least one sick day in the last year. Knowing how to get a doctor’s note for work is essential in a variety of circumstances.

This quick guide on how to get a doctor’s note for work will help.

What is a doctor’s note?

Also referred to as a doctor’s excuse or a medical excuse, a doctor’s note is a legal document that is administered by a qualified healthcare professional. Its purpose is to give confirmation of why a medical issue forced a patient to take time off of work or school. 

While you may feel guilty about taking time off of work, you should not feel this way when there is a legitimate reason to be excused from work. After all, nothing is more important than your health. Given that access to paid sick leave has been statistically shown to lower mortality rates in American adults, you simply must not ignore the need to get a doctor’s note and take time off if necessary.

Before looking at how to get a doctor’s note for work, though, you should familiarize yourself with what to expect from it. The sick note must be filled out by a professional healthcare provider and should include the following;

  • Confirmation of the date that you had your doctor’s appointment on,
  • An explanation of the reason why you should be excused from work/school,
  • Details of any additional time ff that may be required.

When do you need a doctor’s note for work?

The fact that there are over 36 million hospitalizations per year in America instantly highlights the frequency of doctor’s notes. However, hospital appointments aren’t the only reason why you may find yourself needing a doctor’s note. Additional instances where you could need a doctor’s note include but are not limited to;

  • You have contracted a contagious illness, ranging from COVID-19 to stomach viruses, that require you to stay off work.
  • A physical injury has prevented or restricted you from completing your work responsibilities,
  • An appointment was needed in relation to a new illness or a pre-existing medical condition,
  • Pregnancy or delivery causes you to lose work days, as covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

An in-person or online doctor’s note may be needed by on-site employees, remote workers, freelancers, or students. Furthermore, it’s not always linked to confirming that you need time off. In some situations, such as for people with existing health conditions, a doctor’s note may be used to confirm that working temporarily from home has become necessary. 

How can you get a doctor’s note for work?

For context, over 7.8 million workers had an illness-related work absence in January 2022 alone. While the fact it was winter should be accounted for, those figures from last year are in line with 2023’s anticipated results and highlight the likelihood that you may need one in the near future. If you do, the following options are available:

Use an online template

One increasingly common option in the digital age is to download a doctor’s note template and fill in yourself. However, this is ill-advised as forging a doctor’s note is illegal. In fact, it could be considered a form of identity theft and fraud, thus leading to a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment. It simply is not worth the risk, especially when getting a doctor’s note for work through legitimate methods is now more convenient than ever. 

Visiting your family physician

Your family doctor can provide a doctor’s note during or after a scheduled appointment. Whether you saw them about an injury or illness, they will write you a doctor’s note to excuse you from work if it is deemed suitable. It is a very likely outcome if you are given a prescription to manage the health condition. However, even when you simply need rest, your family physician will help you.

Asking other relevant healthcare providers

If you are visiting or have recently visited any other healthcare service, it will also be possible to seek a doctor’s note. Relevant parties include nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists. It should also be noted that sick notes can be provided in relation to mental health issues – something experienced by more than 20% of the U.S. adult population each year – as well as physical ones. 

Can you get a doctor’s note for work online?

Millions of patients across America now prefer to use an online doctor for a wide range of reasons. The great news is that they can provide a doctor’s note following your virtual appointment too. It is deemed by many patients to be the most convenient solution, not least because it’s also more affordable than in-person appointments.

Getting a doctor’s note from an online healthcare provider is particularly useful when your local surgery is too busy to see you, especially as the date of any subsequent appointment may not align with your need to be excused. The stress of waiting for an appointment is the last thing you need when fighting an illness or health condition too.

Key takeaways

When a medical condition, such as an illness or injury, interferes with your ability to attend work (or school), it can cause stress for many reasons. However, proving the legitimacy of the time off to your employer needn’t be one of them. A verified doctor’s note is a legal document that will confirm your medical appointment.

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