How long do you stay over shift to finish work?

  1. I'm still new to the profession and recently ended orientation on a telemetry floor. I'm curious about how long you would stay after in order to finish your paperwork? What things do you make sure that you complete and what things would you let pass to the next shift for them to complete?

    I'm mostly asking this because I was assigned 7 patients and several were quite time consuming patients. I didn't have time to go to the bathroom none-the-less get any paperwork done before the next shift was arriving (I work the night shift). I stayed a little over 2 hours past my shift to get the meds lists done and to get my nursing notes done for each of the patients. These I know are things that I must have done. I'm just still unsure of what things are able to be passed along. Many of the other nurses will get done what they can with new admits and leave some for the next shift when the new patient had come to the floor near the end of shift. I had a few issues with a couple nurses about this and I'm not sure if they are just walking over me because I'm new, or if I was doing something wrong. I was getting conflicting information from different charge nurses.

    It's not that I make a practice of not completing my work, because this was actually the first time that I hadn't had everything done before end of shift. In fact, I hate the idea of leaving any work unfinished. But shouldn't there be a line somewhere for how long I should stick around to get things done? Thanks.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   KJB_65
    When I was working in the hospital(also telemetry 7a-7p) there were many, many nights that I did not get out until 9. I could count on one hand the times that I actually got out on time.
  4. by   RN1989
    You'll have to use your judgement about what you pass on. If it isn't an emergency, isn't required for regulations/policy, isn't stat, won't kill someone then see if you can leave it. And you will always have the next shift complain that you didn't do your job if you left even one little thing to do. I have stayed 4 hours past my shift before to finish up because it was so bad. Unfortunately, hospitals are starting to really frown on the OT and will fire people on the basis that they think you have poor time management skills if you can't get everything done without incremental OT. I've seen nurses clock out and sit for hours charting for their shift because they were threatened with termination. Yet it was literally impossible to be able to chart during the shift and still do actual patient care. Which is why more and more I am seeing nurses fill out those checklist type nurses notes but not actually do what they checked off that they did. You are not alone. You will have to decide for yourself what you can/can't do and how long you will stay to complete your work. This is one of the worst parts about being a floor nurse.
  5. by   cmo421
    Ok, I might get slammed here,but this is a huge pet peeve of mine. NURSING IS 24HOURS! If u get an admit near the end of your shift, an inicial assessment should be done. Also, a quick once over physically to make sure nothing has been passed up, along of course with routine VS and allergy list.(a cna or ua can help with this) Check and make sure no stats have been ordered. The rest can wait for the next nurse. A a-z backround ,home and physical assessment can wait. In most cases a nurse has 24 hrs to fully complete the inicial admission assessment paper. I am not say always turf the work to the next shift,but we have 24 hrs for a reason. Unless ur NM and facility does not mine lots of OT,and u love to stay. Just my two cents!
    As far as your per shift paperwork, well ur organizational skills will develop.It will not seem as overwhelming in a few months. Carry a cheat sheet to jot things down for charting or chart after each pt is assessed. You will find what works for you. DO not let what others can accomplish get to you,we all work at different paces,in different ways. You will find your way ! Good luck and have a great day!
  6. by   RNperdiem
    I rarely have to stay after to finish up, but sometimes I will finish admission paperwork. If I am interpreting your post correctly, then you are spending time after shift change doing charting? or charting and patient care tasks? I wouldn't leave until all the meds I gave are all signed off and the nursing note written.
    Beyond that, leave it to the next shift.
    How long is your charting compared to the others nurses charting? Make sure you are writing only as much as you need.
  7. by   gonzo1
    When I worked the tele/med/surg floor this was always a problem for me and many of the other nurses I worked with. Often didn't get out for 1-2 hours after end of shift. All I can tell you is that it is very important for you to chart meds as soon as given. Never leave this for later. Also, you must try to chart as you go along, if you leave it till the end of shift you will forget to chart important things that may come back to bite you.
    For now, while you are new, chart as you go along and if that means that you don't get all the dressing changes done etc, then the next shift will have to do it. Nursing is a 24 hour job and things do get left for the next shift. This can not be avoided. Don't let lazy nurses that follow you make you feel bad about this.
    As time goes by you will get better and faster at everything, but until you do nothing is more important than charting meds, followed by charting assessments, reassessments to treatments (drugs) and just general charting. Charting protects both you and your patients. Try to get a couple books on documentation and read them. This helped me alot.
    What really helped me though was transferring to the ED. Med/surg is very problematic, with too many patients, not enough help and support. I almost never get out late now unless I choose to stay and help out if there is a difficult patient that I have been following.
    Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. It takes at least one year for even the most brilliant nurse to be comfortable and effecient in any dept.
  8. by   Midwest4me
    Quote from RN1989
    You'll have to use your judgement about what you pass on. If it isn't an emergency, isn't required for regulations/policy, isn't stat, won't kill someone then see if you can leave it. And you will always have the next shift complain that you didn't do your job if you left even one little thing to do. I have stayed 4 hours past my shift before to finish up because it was so bad. Unfortunately, hospitals are starting to really frown on the OT and will fire people on the basis that they think you have poor time management skills if you can't get everything done without incremental OT. I've seen nurses clock out and sit for hours charting for their shift because they were threatened with termination. Yet it was literally impossible to be able to chart during the shift and still do actual patient care. Which is why more and more I am seeing nurses fill out those checklist type nurses notes but not actually do what they checked off that they did. You are not alone. You will have to decide for yourself what you can/can't do and how long you will stay to complete your work. This is one of the worst parts about being a floor nurse.
    I agree with the above. When I worked LTC I would clock out and then stay .5-1.5 hours longer to complete charting due to threats of termination and threats of not getting paid OT. The work MUST be finished. If day shift left things for you to do and you obviously had to take time to finish them but didn't get time to finish all of YOUR shift's tasks, then the next shift must take over--it IS a 24-hour operation. Overall, you must prioritize.
  9. by   agent66
    I also work in a telemetry unit, and I work only nightshift. 2hours later than your shift is way too much time. Unless your patient needs transferring to a critical area at the time of shift change etc then you shouldn't have to spend more than 15 minutes past your time to get loose ends tied up. I always chart the nursing notes as I go and sign off meds as I go. If MARS need recopying or charts stocked, I make sure the wardclerk is aware before she takes off at 2200. There is always unexpected events that you cannot plan into your night so your charting always needs to be up to date. This is something I always , always reinforce with the students. Things change quickly, "always expect the unexpected". You need your breaks as well, so plan them into your night. Delegate some tasks to others if they are sitting around and you find yourself overwhelmed, some nurses don't offer, but are willing to help you out if asked. Your time management will improve with experience but consistently getting out more than 15-20 mins past your shift is not good for your well being.
  10. by   Ms Kylee
    I've stayed as long as 1.5 hours to get my charting done on a very busy day shift, and I've seen the RN's stay at least 2 hours past shift. Worked evenings this weekend and was out on time both nights. *Happy dance*
  11. by   zaggar
    Look, don't clock out until you are done and walking out the door.

    If they fire you, then fine, so be it. But don't work for free.

    You've earned the pay. Take your money.
  12. by   pirap
    When I worked Med/Surg had 7 patients on a daily basis almost all the time. Worked 3-11. There were many nights when I didn't get done until 12-1am. It was so overwhelming that I finally left the job. I had to. Yes there was an occasional time management issue--mainly getting trapped in a patients room and talking-but mostly it was just running around like a chicken with its head cut-off trying to decide where to start. We were so understaffed.

    Since transferring to the job where I never want to leave I almost always get out on time. Now I work 6:45am to 7:15pm. Sometimes I stay a few minutes over but not often. My home life has changed dramatically. I am not tired anymore and I never dread going to work(except being away from my kids).

    Make sure you get all your big stuff done and your charting is done. Don't chart fancy-just get to the point. If you chart by exception don't write what you don't have to. We don't have to chart when we gave pain meds-but I sometimes do just to have a few extra entries..basically its a time waster. If your coworkers complain ask them exactly what they expected you to do if they feel you missed something big and leave it at that-don't try to explain "why" it wasn't done. Since you are new talk to your "regular" charge nurse(not the relief charge) or manager and let them give you some guidance on what THEY expect. Some nurses just like to complain and want everyone else to do their job..its a 24 hour job. I've stopped worrying about it.
  13. by   queenjean
    I will stay over 15-20 minutes for routine stuff. Not any longer, because that is crap that can be passed on to the other shift.

    I will stay over as long as it takes to finish something out of the ordinary--a code, admission paperwork--things that *I* really need to do, that would cause an inordinate about of time and trouble for the oncoming shift.

    If you are having to stay over hours after each shift, there is something terribly wrong either with your time management skills or your facility's staffing. No one should have to stay over hours and hours consistently.

    ETA: I would NEVER clock out first. If I'm off the clock, I'm not at work!
    Last edit by queenjean on Oct 30, '07
  14. by   Nursing On The Run
    ITA with pelsmith (?) who said, don't work for free. Don't clock out and then stick around working.

    I quit working about 6 months ago, which has given me some clarity on the issue that I didn't have when I was the "chicken with my head cut off" trying to get the impossible workload done.

    Here is my new clarity: Take care of yourself. Take your breaks, go to the bathroom. Eyeball your patients, give their meds and sign off immediately, assess fully ASAP (emphasis on possible) and write up immediately. Stay after if patient needs help during a medical crisis. Otherwise, develop a thick skin and an unflinching stare. Tell the oncoming shift what you didn't get done, and don't apologize.

    Guess what? If you are doing your best, and you're not a bozo, and you can't get all your work done, it's not b/c there is a problem with YOU. It's b/c there's a problem with the WORKLOAD. Sometimes it seems like nursing is based on what a few brilliant, experienced, perfect people can do-- and then everyone is held to their standard. If you're smart, caring, and doing your best, then what you get done is your full day's work. Not what someone else could do.

    And I think you'll get less ******** if you seem less apologetic. It is what it is. And don't work for free, whatever you do. You're not a slave and this is America. Take your lunch, go to the bathroom, and you'll be a better nurse and maybe won't get burned out like so many.

    P.S. I plan to go back to work one day (right now it's best for my family as a whole to be a stay-at-home mom) and when I do, I won't be afraid of getting fired. I am constantly getting calls and mail from prospective employers, LOL. They want me bad! And one day, if they treat me right, they'll get me. I'm a good nurse, btw. But if another nurse was able to get more done, I just say God Bless her or him. Way to go. Nothing to do with me.

    Take care.

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