I've worked for only one SANE program in the ED and I am burning out on the way we are scheduled.
The coordinator makes a master schedule that charge nurses have access to (but not the examiners!) and she alternates who is on first call from the list of examiners. The examiners don't get a copy of this master schedule.
In essence, we are expected to be on call 24/7. This makes it nearly impossible to actually answer a call because of course, you can't spend your life sitting by the phone waiting for the call! Lately, it seems that all the calls come in on days that I am already working at my regular RN job or have something planned. Sometimes, I have the time to go in, but I honestly don't feel like it because it is very irritating how they take the examiners for granted. We are not paid to be on-call, another issue I have with this.
The sad part is that I really enjoy cases -- ok, not "enjoy". That's the wrong word. I really like to be there for victims in a time when they need someone who is going to be there just for them and who won't judge them and the circumstances surrounding their sexual assault. I can't say the same thing for the ED docs who have to do the cases when an examiner can't respond (due to the messed up scheduling).
I have tried to suggest we figure out a better way, but there is resistance. I also don't really know a better way so I'm hoping others will share how it works in their program to see if some ideas arise.
Thanks in advance for any feedback.
Aug 27, '12
I was a SANE for three years. We scheduled ourselves at least a month in advance. There were still a few holes in the schedule, but we knew when we were on call and could sign up for hours that didn't conflict with our other jobs. A few of our group worked at the hospital that had the program. Most of us did not. Either way, it was essential that we not do anything to jeopardize our primary jobs.
You have to have enough people to make coverage reasonable. We were expected to do 80 hrs/month. Some signed up for twenty-four hour stints at a time. Others picked shorter hours that were compatible with their regular work shifts. A few preferred weekends, while others couldn't do them at all. We had a group that ranged from 12-16 at any given moment. We were able to cover vacations, illnesses, temporary time off, mandatory classes, etc., in part because we had enough people and enough warning to make plans.
It sounds terribly disrespectful and highly counterproductive not to let people sign up for shifts voluntarily or even let them know when they're supposed to be on call. That's a really good way to lose nurses and possibly make the program implode. People have lives. Every single one of us had at least one other job, as well. You shouldn't have to be mistreated to serve your community as a SANE. That's in-SANE!
On a practical level, we used Google Calendars to do our scheduling. We all had the password and we each picked a color for our shifts. We'd enter our color on the days we chose and list the hours we would be available. We could do this several months in advance. If there were any holes, those were considered an "all call," and anyone who was available when the page went out could respond.
We never had to mandate a specific number of weekend hours because, as I mentioned, some people with weekday jobs were happy to cover them. I liked night hours. Others liked PMs.
If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, or ask here in the thread. If you guys don't come up with a workable solution, I doubt people will put up with the situation you're describing for long.
This service is too important to be run aground by someone who treats nurses like appliances, to be plugged in based on just her input. I hope you can work something out.
Last edit by rn/writer on Aug 27, '12
Aug 30, '12
Wow, this sounds unbelievably unfair, and a recipe to lose nurses. Our program has 6 nurses, and has provided uninterrupted service for 20 years. We all send our availability to the program coordinator for the following month. We take call in 4 to 24 hour blocks depending on our availability, and we average 100-130 hours/month. We are also compensated for call. ($4.00/hr weekdays-$5.00/hr weekends and holidays) I feel you must be compensated for a professional service, and by being on call you are guaranteeing your availability. We all have things come up in life. In as much we are all sent a copy of the schedule and encouraged to make "swaps" for those instances. Another aspect of being professionals.
I seriously believe if your program is to have longevity, and be viewed as the professional service that you are, it appears to need a major rework. Just my honest opinion. Sounds like someone does not respect their staff.
Aug 30, '12
Thank you for your feedback, good to know that its not unreasonable to ask fir some sense of A schedule. The main issue is that the institution where we are based is not willing to pay for on-call time. I will suggest that we use google calendar or something similar one more time and if not resolved, I will look for another program.
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