Are the on-call requirements worth it for a job you love?

  1. Hi all,

    I am a long time reader but never poster on allnurses. I have been a RN for 3 and a half years now on a cardiac step-down unit. I have learned a lot, become a charge nurse and preceptor. However, I have never been satisfied with bedside nursing. I have been interested in cath lab since the day in nursing school that I spent 8 hours there shadowing. It was fascinating. When I was a new grad I applied for a cath lab position and that obviously did not go anywhere.

    Fast forward 3.5 years, and I have applied and interviewed for a cath lab position at my current hospital, and been offered a position. The catch is what you may expect: the on-call requirements. My facility requires 9 days of call a month (on top of your normal 40 hours M-F). I knew the job would require call but I really had no idea it was that much. To go from working three 12-hr shifts per week to go to working what seems like nearly every day of the month, I am having some second thoughts.

    So my question is, even though this is my dream job, its the call worth it? What are some of your requirements at other facilities? Just wanted some insight before I made up my mind.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from emilyaRN
    Hi all,

    I am a long time reader but never poster on allnurses. I have been a RN for 3 and a half years now on a cardiac step-down unit. I have learned a lot, become a charge nurse and preceptor. However, I have never been satisfied with bedside nursing. I have been interested in cath lab since the day in nursing school that I spent 8 hours there shadowing. It was fascinating. When I was a new grad I applied for a cath lab position and that obviously did not go anywhere.

    Fast forward 3.5 years, and I have applied and interviewed for a cath lab position at my current hospital, and been offered a position. The catch is what you may expect: the on-call requirements. My facility requires 9 days of call a month (on top of your normal 40 hours M-F). I knew the job would require call but I really had no idea it was that much. To go from working three 12-hr shifts per week to go to working what seems like nearly every day of the month, I am having some second thoughts.

    So my question is, even though this is my dream job, its the call worth it? What are some of your requirements at other facilities? Just wanted some insight before I made up my mind.
    Talk to some of the folks who work in the Cath Lab already and ask how frequently they actually get called in. Ask them if THEY think it is worth it. Realize, of course, that no one can make the decision for you.

    My husband worked in the cath lab for a couple of years and while he loved it at first, he got tired of it fairly quickly. The on call seemed to go in spurts . . . Sometimes it seemed like he was working every day and other times, he'd almost forget he was on call. The times when he got called a lot, he was unhappy with his job. Football weekends, a fresh snowfall and big holiday dinners always seemed to trigger chest pain admissions, and if they were after hours, someone got called in.

    It may depend upon how busy your facility tends to be. I worked CCU years ago and we covered the Cath Lab for the first case; if their was a second case they called in a cath lab nurse. We rarely had even one after hours case, much less two.
  4. by   Rose_Queen
    Not cath lab, but cardiac OR. I'd love to take that little call. Yes, I did say little as I take far more than that. I still like my job, although I disagree with parts of it (starting elective cases at 1430 when the shift ends at 1530 and the call team will be working all night after working a full shift and still being expected to work a full shift the next day- emergencies are one thing; late electives are another- the biggest part of the reason I'm currently looking for a new job doing what I do somewhere else). I agree with Ruby- talk to people at that particular cath lab. The cath lab where I work sees spurts, and sometimes it's crazy to the point of calling in any willing body to get the simultaneous MIs stented before more damage occurs. Other times, they leave when they're scheduled to leave and don't come back until they're scheduled to start the next shift. Same with me. You need more specific information from your facility, not from people who may work in a cath lab in a totally different facility.
  5. by   futureNPmomof2
    I worked cath lab for 3 years and I agree with the previous 2 posters. Talk to the nurses in the cath lab regarding call now. What are the management thought expectations vs. the actual reality? I took call 24 days a month. Yes...24 DAYS. I had no life, could not even go for a walk through my neighborhood, getting groceries sent me into a panic and could not go through a drive through starbucks line. I am thankful to be done with that environment. I loved our team and it was fun saving lives, but it wasn't worth the $3/hr for the stress on me and my family with that much call.
  6. by   NJ2013
    Quote from emilyaRN
    Hi all,

    I am a long time reader but never poster on allnurses. I have been a RN for 3 and a half years now on a cardiac step-down unit. I have learned a lot, become a charge nurse and preceptor. However, I have never been satisfied with bedside nursing. I have been interested in cath lab since the day in nursing school that I spent 8 hours there shadowing. It was fascinating. When I was a new grad I applied for a cath lab position and that obviously did not go anywhere.

    Fast forward 3.5 years, and I have applied and interviewed for a cath lab position at my current hospital, and been offered a position. The catch is what you may expect: the on-call requirements. My facility requires 9 days of call a month (on top of your normal 40 hours M-F). I knew the job would require call but I really had no idea it was that much. To go from working three 12-hr shifts per week to go to working what seems like nearly every day of the month, I am having some second thoughts.

    So my question is, even though this is my dream job, its the call worth it? What are some of your requirements at other facilities? Just wanted some insight before I made up my mind.
    I am exactly in the same position. I have been an ED nurse for 2 years and i loved it. Cath lab has always interested me as well for which i applied for.

    I just interviewed at my hospital, and to my surprise the pay increase is only $1/hr more than what I'm getting paid already, and they require 7 days/ month of on call. which was a bomber for me... I have talked to a few cath nurses, and they don't seem to bother by it... which makes my decision ever harder. they provide 30mins after a call, which also bothers me as I live 20-30 mins from the hospital, and feel as it may cutting close.

    Sorry to hijack your thread, but it seems as we are dealing with the same situation. would love to hear your decision, and thoughts from other RN who made transition, or have been in the cath love..

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