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.
  2. Visit  onthemark profile page

    About onthemark

    onthemark has '1+' year(s) of experience. From 'NY, US'; Joined Nov '11; Posts: 86; Likes: 69.

    22 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  sapphire18 profile page
    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. Visit  gatoraims RN profile page
    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. Visit  beckster_01 profile page
    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. Visit  schooldistrictnurse profile page
    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. Visit  That Guy profile page
    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. Visit  Multicollinearity profile page
    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. Visit  janhetherington profile page
    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. Visit  onthemark profile page
    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. Visit  Guttercat profile page
    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.
  12. Visit  caliotter3 profile page
    1
    If you would like to work, why don't you accept a shift and see how it goes? I would not say yes each and every time unless I really wanted to work, but it can't hurt to do it once in awhile. You would definitely be adding to your experience if you accept the extra shifts. You could also explore the possibility of taking your most secure assignment if you do come in. I've heard lots of times that people who come in get to work where they want. Doesn't hurt to ask.
    onthemark likes this.
  13. Visit  libbyliberal profile page
    2
    Just say "I'm sorry I have plans" if you need your day off.

    You will get brownie points for working extra once in a while but you don't have to do it if you don't want to. Staffing coordinators have a lot of power in most places, it's good to make friends with these people.

    If you want to pick up an extra shift, and you don't want to be pulled say "is this for my unit?" Get them to promise to assign you to your home unit but don't act like a princess "I would really like to stick with the patients that I know" yadayada...

    They need a warm body to fill a hole in their staffing and they don't want to be on the phone all day so don't be afraid to speak up.
    janhetherington and onthemark like this.
  14. Visit  All4NursingRN profile page
    0
    I remember when I was an LPN at first I used to do so much OT because I needed the extra shifts (they messed up and told me I was going to be full time, when in actuality they hired me for per diem) I did OT so much the supervisors loved me, but when I backed off on the OT it was as if they thought I was obligated to do OT and they would kinda give me a hard time. Don't work there anymore lol.


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