My puppy and I recently moved from the northeast to Florida for a job. My current positions is a nurse with the Emergency Transport Team for a hospital in south Florida. A little bit about what I do: I pick up kids from other hospitals in an ambulance, helicopter or airplane (we do international calls as well- think Jamaica, St Croix, etc.) and bring them back to the hospital I work for. I do NOT do scene work or 911 calls. Sometimes the kids are sick but most of the time they are stable and coming for a second opinion or because the other hospital doesn't have pediatrics. A lot of the calls are non-emergent.
Upon starting my new job in a new state with a new apartment lease, I'm made aware that I will be expected and required to work 20+ hours in a shift. It happens frequently where the nurse and paramedic as a team must work 24 hours or more. If the insurance is approved at 5:00pm for a child in Jamaica, the day shift is expected to go still even though it's at least an 8 hour round trip if everything goes well. If it doesn't go well- which it ended up not going well as Jamaican ambulance drivers in Jamaica did not want to go to that part of town the hospital was in because it was too dangerous, it may take 12 hours. Or ones plane can break down at any point and one may be stranded overnight.
Obviously the patient must be stable in order for him/her to make an 8 hour transport. Why can't the nightshift team do the transport at 7:00p when they come in? The answer I received:
because you still have 2 hours left in your shift. If you don't want to work the hours you need to resign. This teams policy
states you must work 20 hours in one shift if you are asked to do so. If you work 24 or more hours in a shift you can come in
late the next day if you are scheduled to work.
I think from a safety perspective- safety for everyone me, my license, the patient, my dog at home this is incredibly unsafe and unacceptable. My former employer in the Northeast had a limit of one hour after ones shift- so if the transport was predicted to take you beyond 8:30p then the transport was delayed until the next shift.
I've looked into florida labor laws- they basically have no laws. One can work 24hours a day x 7 days if you follow Florida Labor Laws. The Federal laws are no help either. The ANA has made a statement that a nurse has a MORAL obligation to decline an
assignment if you are tired (exhausted). However the basis of morals is not going to work with my employer.
I went to human resources. They did not gasp in horror as I expected when I told them this was going on. "so you don't want to work 20hours a shift?" I asked for a transfer to another department: "well it hasn't been 6months, I don't think we can do that."
I don't know what to do. I moved myself down here, the hospital gave me a $3000.00 relocation bonus that I must repay if I leave within the first 12months and I signed a 1 year lease on my apartment- they are not forgiving here and will not allow someone else to take over the payments. I have been looking for other jobs but it's slim pickings and the pay will cause me to file bankruptcy.
Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you so much for any and all ideas!