How important is it to accept extra shift work?

  1. 1
    Last month I began work at a nursing home as an LPN. I've been called at home several times already asking if I'd go in and work another shift because they're short-staffed. Each time I have declined because I do not yet feel comfortable enough to take on what the assignment might be. I'm afraid they'll put me where they're most desparate, and probably a large patient load. My thought has been that once I'm more comfortable, I'd LOVE to take on more shifts but just not yet.

    However, today I spoke to a friend who also just got her 1st job and she said she's been accepting every shift they ask for because she's afraid if she doesn't, she won't pass probation (4 months for both of us). The downside for her, though, is that she's so inexperienced and slow that she's already been written up a few times! She and I don't know what to do: accept the extra shifts to help secure our employment after probation? or decline them until we're more sure of ourselves? Your input on this will be appreciated.
    Newgrad_STAT likes this.

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  2. 22 Comments...

  3. 2
    Taking extra shifts shouldn't affect whether you successfully pass the probation period or not, but the more you work, the more comfortable you'll become. Of course I wouldn't work more than I could handle but one extra shift a week should be ok...but it is totally up to you and I don't believe they can REQUIRE you to come in for extra shifts.
    not.done.yet and loriangel14 like this.
  4. 2
    I do not really have the correct answer. However I am a new LPN and have picked up a few shifts here and there but have also declined a few shifts here and there. I am not going to work when I have plans but I do not mind picking up a shift.

    At least with my facility they understand I am a new nurse, new to the facility, and only work part time. So even if I have been employed for over a month I really have only worked maybe 15 days and that is with the 5 days of orientation.

    I am SLOW so so so slow when I am on a wing that I have not been on and do not know the resident. If I do not know them I always get an aid or other nurse to who they are before I pass meds to them.

    Our med pass like others I have heard about are an hour before to an hour after. so 9am meds can be passed from 8am until 10am. It sometimes takes me until after 11 to pass meds. I have over 25 residents and some wings 6 g-tubes or a few neb treatments. So it takes me a long time. I have appologized about being slow and I have been reassured that I am doing fine with my time, they expect new "float" nurses to be slow. I think it is a bit unsafe that your friend's facility is writing her up for being slow. She could speed up but at what cost. Med errors, missed meds, ect...
    NurseNathalie and gaylarn4 like this.
  5. 3
    When I first started I would pick up 1-2 shifts per month (inpatient, not LTC). It was more to demonstrate I am a "team player" than anything else. The paycheck bump doesn't hurt either

    On my floor, the charge nurse generally distributes the patient load evenly. They don't save all of the difficult patient for the unlucky soul that comes in out of the goodness of their heart. If anything, that person gets an easier load. But it depends on unit dynamics and patient population. So my advice is to take it one shift at a time. Definitely don't pick up more than one shift every week or two, you don't want to burn out or get too tired. But I don't see anything wrong with taking extra shifts even if you are new as long as you don't take more than you can handle.
    onthemark, loriangel14, and LouisVRN like this.
  6. 0
    Gator, do not rely on other staff to correctly ID residents--if they (and then you) make an error, they can reply"oops" and you're stuck with the error. utilize arm bands or resident photos if your facility uses them in the MAR.
  7. 13
    Quote from onthemark
    However, today I spoke to a friend who also just got her 1st job and she said she's been accepting every shift they ask for because she's afraid if she doesn't, she won't pass probation (4 months for both of us).
    This is a horrible idea. This sets up the impression that she will not say no and puts her in a position for the hospital to use her. I have seen it happen so many times. I have zero issue saying no to work. I have a life outside of the hospital.
    ChristineN, KelRN215, opossum, and 10 others like this.
  8. 5
    Quote from That Guy
    This is a horrible idea. This sets up the impression that she will not say no and puts her in a position for the hospital to use her. I have seen it happen so many times. I have zero issue saying no to work. I have a life outside of the hospital.
    Yes. We have a new nurse on probationary period, and she is being scheduled 8 days in a row, routinely. I can see her mental wheels turning...bad job market, she's new and on probation, so she better say yes. I think it's inhumane. I just came off a stretch of 67 hours in one week, and my employer is now dealing without me because I'm sick due to exhaustion and other factors. Stupid is as stupid does, and employers will use a nurse as much as the nurse lets them.
    KelRN215, crb613, opossum, and 2 others like this.
  9. 3
    We always bargained before we said "yes". I wanted to know where I was going, how many other nurses would be there, and if I would be bumping any of the staff off their regular floor, causing a pull that wouldn't otherwise happen. Staffing did NOT like this, but if I didn't like their answers, I didn't agree. The huge majority of us did that. The facility tried to stop this by refusing to tell us anything. We just refused to come in, which was our right. They didn't have a lot of leverage since they were "calling the book" at least twice a week.
  10. 1
    Thanks, Janheatherington! I was thinking of asking those questions, too, but didn't think they'd tell me. I'll give it a try next time though.
    janhetherington likes this.
  11. 3
    It takes time for nurses to not only learn to say "no" but feel they've earned the right to say it.

    As a young RN I was much more inclined to cave to pressure. I don't think that's such a bad thing. Say "yes" enough times, and over time you will learn your own limits.

    Some of the best RN's in the trade I know, have strict personal rules regarding how much they are willing to take on.

    They know viscerally that "fine line of balance" that not only helps them have optimal personal lives, but allows them the mental, physical and emotional energy to be of best service during their working hours.


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