"Work 20+ hours in your shifts or resign"

  1. 0
    Hello all,
    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!
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 19 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Try OSHA? Basically, the employer can do anything it wants as long as it doesn't violate a contract or any state/federal laws or regulations.
    scoochy likes this.
  5. 1
    Did you know the policy before you accepted the job?
    scoochy likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from alisjo865
    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.

    The ANA operates in an ivory tower world and is not employing you. I know this is hard, but I think you are going to have to make arrangements for your puppy or find it another home. As a pet person, I know this is unthinkable and heartbreaking. However, I cannot fathom declaring bankruptcy, as you mentioned, and derailing or harming one's career in this economy due to a pet and its logistics and tiredness from working long shifts.

    Good luck - I know you are in a rough spot.
  7. 0
    OMG, I feel so bad for you! "Mulan" made an excellent point, however. How about consulting an attorney who specializes in employment law if your employer was not forthcoming with such an awful work schedule? Working 20+ hours is, in my opinion, putting your license on the line. Talk about liability! I hope you carry nurse's liability insurance! Have you discussed this issue with Florida's BON? It blows my mind that such working conditions exist.

    Is there ANY possibility you can stick it out until the 6 month period is up? If so, find a dog walker for your pooch. You have said you have looked for employment elsewhere; does Florida have nursing agencies?

    I don't have any other suggestions. You are in an awful bind. I sincerely hope you can find a solution!
  8. 0
    Quote from alisjo865
    Snipped
    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.

    I think from a safety perspective- safety for everyone me, my license, the patient, my dog at home this is incredibly unsafe and unacceptable.
    Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you so much for any and all ideas!
    You really are between a rock and hard place. Clearly this job is overwhelming in terms of the amount time you are expected to be away from home. You only just started and leaving at this point considering all your other issues: the relocation money, the apartment,finacial...etc, is a tough choice to make. You only have 2 choices either stay and tough it out, which leaves you with a good reputation, references and not having to pay any money back and no issues with your lease. If you stay you should also find someone to be responsible for your dog while you're away, either use a local kennel or a responsible neighbor, leaving the animal alone is really (all things being considered) not a good thing.

    Choice 2 is quit, you could ask your former job if you could return or look around at other facilities where you are currently living and see if you could get a job there. This choice in my opion is the choice of last resort as it puts you in tough spot with so many issues. Flying as a nursing/medical profession tends to be like this, especially if you are doing the sort of transporting that you are doing. Medevac is different, they fly in around regional areas. It's a shame you didn't understand this prior but it could prove to be a great experience for you even if you only stick it out long enough to get yourself off the hook. Good Luck
  9. 1
    This is standard operating procedure in transport/HEMS, due to the unpredictable nature of travel itself. I'm sorry that you weren't clear on that before accepting the job.
    NRSKarenRN likes this.
  10. 0
    I wouln't imagine you're going to find a lot of support in getting out of it, as crappy as that is. If the other nurses who work there deal with it, then it's going to be you against them. Fl has crap for jobs right now. I lived there for a long time, and recently moved out of state.

    How often do you actually end up working the 20+ hours? Have you talked to other staff and see how they handle it. I'm curious if they waiting until you were there to disclose this to you? GL, I hope you are able to work things out.
  11. 0
    No I did not know about the hours before starting. My boss did not disclose that information during the interview. If she would have I would have turned down the offer right then and there. I didn't know places existed that cared so little about pt safety and employee safety.
  12. 0
    OP, you might try posting in the Flight Nursing/Transport specialty forum -- you might get additional responses with some helpful insight.


Top