Just went through a lay off, more trouble ahead. (sorry, long)

  1. Please, please, bare with me. This is a horribly long rant. but I would really appreciate your opinion.


    A year ago there were staffing cuts in the hospital that I worked at at the time. I survived the lay off, but it were the two nastiest, most stressfull months in my life sofar. Eventhough I did not get layed off, I ended up leaving that hospital a few months later, because the working atmosphere there never really recovered and was more than grimm... Everyone there seemed tense, stressed and cranky all the time. Not a nice place to go to work every day, really...

    Anyway, now I've worked in a SNIF for over three months and I enjoy this job very much. A few days ago we were informed by our DNS that there will be cut backs. we will go down from three nurses on night shift to two and there will be a change from 12 hour shifts to 8 hour shifts. she gave us the option to come up with a schedule by ourselves by a certain deadline or she will implement a rotating four on, two off shedule.

    Yeah, it looks like, there will be lay offs again. It seems to be following me around like the plegue... I'm scared. Since I'm currently working there only two days a week, I'm scared that I will get left out somehow and that I will be pushed out by more pro-active people. It might sound funny now, but eventhough I've only been there for three months, there have been so many changes lately, that on my shift I am the second most senior person. However this is not a unionized work place. The DNS told me, that she'll go by seniority, in case she needs to let someone go, but in reality, she can do anything she wants. And she's been known to change her mind in the past...

    I really don't want to leave, I don't want to get etched out. This morning I called the DNS to get updated on what's going on over there, since I'm not back till next thursday and I'm so affraid to miss out on something and consequently get walked all over by the other nurses that are there daily and - I can imagine in such a situation - kissing up to the DNS. She wasn't available, so I talked to the staff coordinator. She didn't really want to say much, she only told me, that there is a deadline for the night shift staff to come up with a schedule and that this one nurse who's only been there for about three weeks by the way, but is very ...you know... "active and involved" in this (hmmmm, wonder why ) is working on creating a schedule. When I asked her again, if it'll go by seniority, she didn't confirm it. She said that it is really up to the DNS.
    I told her, that I don't want to bohter the DNS with lots of phone calls regarding this issue, but that I don't want to miss out on any information or meetings and to please call me, if there is any news. I also told her that I would like to emphasize, that I really like to working in this facility and that I definitely don't want to leave. I also told her that eventhough there are schedule patterns that I am not particularly fond off, for the sake of stayng, I am willing to adjust to whatever is necessary, as much as I can. she said that she'll be sure to relay it to the DNS, but who knows? Maybe they really don't give a damn... I want to be pro active and do what I can to protect my status there, but I also don't want to be the one, who calls the supervisors every five minutes and is up their you know what all the time...

    Oh I'm so anxious now. These things really upset me. I'm affraid that if I don't stand up for myslef I will loose out. It's a pride issue as well as an issue of not wanting to lose this particular job.

    I'm really sorry that this is so long and sort of ranting, but I'm so nervous. Can anyone give me some advice? Any personal experiences? Any feedback? Am I doing too much or too little to protect my own status in the company? Arrrrrgh, how I hate job politics!!!
    Last edit by estrogen on Nov 1, '05
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   estrogen
    Why is noone responding??? I'm sitting here anxiously waiting for a suggenstion or comment from someone. Is it really that unbearingly long? I'm so sorry... I shortened it a little. (I know, not enough.) I'd appreciate anything, as I'm getting so stressed and anxious, working myself up over this, that I'm ready to howl at the moon or something... PUHLEEEEEEZ!
  4. by   babynurselsa
    I am not sure what to tell you. I am so sorry.
    Are you working only part time? Are there any other options in your area that you would be happy with?
    I would wonder if they would cut a part-timer before a full timer? No clue just wondering.
    Just trying to grope for some suggestions for you.
    Hang in there, what will be will be and something will work out for you.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Ok--- first of all, take a DEEP breath. Also, please be patient in awaiting responses to your posts; some people feel they have no real useful information to share/impart. And there are others who may be able to help will be along to do so, soon. Sometimes, it can take a few hours or a day or so to get some responses to your requests for help. Hang in there....

    Now regarding your problem: Let me say, I am so sorry for what you are enduring. I am not sure where you live, where so many lay-offs are occurring. Where I am, they are screaming for help in LTC and certain nursing specialities like ED, ICU/CCU, etc. So maybe it's your local area/economy? Not sure. I know some areas are tougher than others in which to find and keep gainful employment, including nursing.

    I do not know how much you are willing to do to solve your own problem. You, interestingly, stated you worried "more proactive people" would be served, with you "being left in the cold". I find that telling. You may have hit on a BIG part of your own solution. You will have to ACT to get what you want or what you deserve; no one will look out for you better than YOU will.

    It may involve something as drastic as changing your specialty or moving to another town/state for work. Or commuting further for a reliable and decent position. It may also involve picking up shifts that are "undesireable" to others like weekends, or nightshifts. I know all about that, myself. I just know I would do whatever it takes to keep gainfully employed, and sometimes, sacrifices are made on the way to getting what I want or need.

    It's up to you, really, what you choose to do next. Keep your cool head and be sure to find out the real story----rumors versus facts---and act accordingly and reasonably. Believe me, the shortage is deeper in some areas than others. Some places, there is so much work, all you need do is apply and they snap you up. Others are more depressed, I know.

    If you are unwilling to move, then you will have to find a local hospital, LTC or other situation in your area where the atmosphere is not so "cut-throat" and layoffs do not loom. You may have to temporarily take a less desireable position/shift while you work toward what you want/deserve.


    Maybe going back to school to advance your education, if at all possible, is in order. I know that is not a short-term solution, but it can help in the long run.

    It's surely not easy,what you are enduring, and I would never minimize it. I just think what you may want to do, is take a deep breath, take stock, and decide, along with your significant other and family, what course of action may be best to take next.Write your options on paper, and discuss the pro's and con's of each, dividing them in columns and looking at them as un-emotionally as you can.

    There is a way out; you just need to brainstorm it when you are not quite as upset as you are right now.

    I do wish you the best. I am very sorry all this is happening to you; it must be beyond stressful. Please, let us know what happens in the days/weeks that come, we do care.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 1, '05
  6. by   SFCardiacRN
    These are the kind of problems that unions can solve. Don't be afraid to try another specialty or another job. Frankly, the job doesn't sound worth keeping.
  7. by   Chaya
    Bottom line IMO is what will the staff reduction do to your patient ratios? Will you be put in a positon in which you are caring for so many patients that it endangers their health, not to mention your license? If so, run the other way!
  8. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    It sounds to me that what is so scary for you is that you have no "Plan B" lined up and can't bear to think of one. I can promise you taht things will be much easier for you if you know that if the layoffs happen, you have another place willing to employ you.

    Layoffs feel horrible, the scary "am I next?" feeling like no other. However, they can be a good thing. I would not be a nurse today if I hadn't been laid off from a mortgage company in Florida, moved back to Alabama, and began work as a secretary in a hospital. At the time of the layoff, it felt like my life was over. There was nowhere else that I wanted to work and I was just miserable- and afraid.
    If I were you, I would start handing out resumes. Be honest with whomever interviews you, let them know that you are currently employed but facing possible layoffs. It might just spur them into giving you an offer you can't (and don't want to) refuse!

    I don't know if you are religious, or if you believe in fate, but what comforts me is that line from "The Sound of Music"... "Whenever God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." Although the view from that window may be different and at first frightening, soon you may find that you would not change it for the world.

    Lori
  9. by   Bird2
    Typically in LTC when they implement a change like you are referring to many nurses will walk. Hang in there and all will work out. We have been trying to go to 8 hour shifts and I could not believe the complaints that was received. Several nurses said on their scheduled work day "this is my last day". So, all hours for nurses like you that do not want their hours cut were available. I don't know what type of payor source your residents have but if a good portion of them are Medicaid then your facility must be feeling a crunch. I feel for you and feel for your Director. Your Director is more than likely under great pressure right now to fix the problem and not have a real solution. BTW - I'm not a DNS but have worked the floor and as a manager so I sit in those ugly meetings. Good luck and keep us posted.
  10. by   CrunchRN
    I don't know Estrogen. I think you may want to bail. I remeber the other thread a few weeks ago where they brought in the new girl for you to train and she told you she would be working your shifts. Then you moved to another unit to accomodate the situation. Now they are having lay off's and changing the shifts frim 12's to 8's and not reassuring you really about anything? I think you need to either stand firm and be vocal about what you wish in light of these changes (and I do mean bother the DNS), or go looking for something else.

    What is the situation with respect to other positions in your area? I can understand totally that you hate to make another change so soon and learn another facility, but you have bent over backwards to be accomodating at this facility and they seem to have no regard for that.

    You seem to have a great skill set and are willing to be flexible. It seems there would be another employer that would appreciate these attributes. Do you live in a very small town or something?

    I totally emphasize with your feelings - I am under that lay off threat a lot also, and I wish I could help more.
  11. by   Nella
    I have survived lay offs at 2 different companies, so I understand everything you're saying. I was worried about even more lays offs, and worried myself silly over my job security. I did an online search about lay offs and read suggestions about how to keep myself on an even keel. It's not easy, not at all. I love my current job so I came up with the following:
    Be Busy
    Be Loyal
    Be Known
    Be Professional
    and Be Flexible.

    The only other thing I can think of is to tell you to try not worry too much. Worry doesn't change the situation, and only drives you crazy if you let it.
  12. by   traumaRUs
    I guess I would look at moving if at all possible. Also, advancing your education might be helpful. In my area also (central IL), there are many, many jobs for RN's, few for LPNs. I wish you the best of luck, especially during these unsettling times.
  13. by   Daytonite
    Sorry! Didn't see your post until now. I've got a big test coming up in my Saturday class and I've been focusing on that a bit more.

    First of all. . .if the facility is going to 8 hour shifts they are going to need more nurses because they are basically increasing their staffing needs by 33% if I've done my math right. Now, some of that is going to account for the cutbacks in staffing. However, it also assures that no one is likely to get laid off.

    Their strategy is that they are also going to lose some nursing staff because they won't want to work 8-hour shifts. Some are not going to like the shift they're going to get stuck with. A lot of people are not going to like being told they are now going to have to work certain days and times that they didn't sign up for. The people who will be left standing in all of this will be those who cooked up this scheme and those who are flexible. Sounds to me like you've been pretty flexible with them. To some extent I think the DNS is being a little threatening when she says she'll put everyone on a rotating 4 on, 2 off schedule. That will send more people out the door. Didn't this new RN you oriented say she was only able to work certain days? Wonder how she's going to fit this into her two-job schedule she's trying to maintain? It isn't practical. How will the DNS be able to give people requested days off? This being a new strategy she wants to institute is likely to cause he a lot of headaches. I wonder if she has really thought this out?

    The fact is that they are not going to want to lay anyone off if layoffs are what you are thinking. The reason is because it's too expensive for them to do. A severence package has to be worked out for those being laid off. Also, a person who has been laid off needs to make their next visit to the state unemployment office and administration should know this. A person who has been laid off is entitled to collect unemployment and guess who gets a charge against them for the money that gets paid out to the unemployed person? Your facility. Paying out unemployment puts a burden on the state and they don't appreciate that.

    What is more likely to happen is that a sneaky, lowdown place will find a way to fire someone or force them into resigning. You can't collect unemployment if you've been fired or quit on your own. Before I quit there I would go on a prn status because I can't believe that they would throw a willing worker off their staff. To do this would mean these people have mental problems and I would really think twice about working with these kinds of people.

    So, I say that if you can stand the heat a little more, hang onto your cajones and ride this out. Just go in to work and do your nursing work. Give them scheduling input as you can. I would write on a piece of paper, "this is what I can work" and write down all the days and shifts you would be willing to be scheduled along with your other requirement of only 3 days, all in a row, etc. They will take that into consideration (hopefully) when they are setting up their schedule of full-time people. They must have some part time nurses or they can't exist. Having done staffing a lot over the years (which is why I've lost a lot of my hair! :chuckle ) I can guarantee that they are probably going to have more holes in their schedule to fill than nurses. When that happens they have to start wheeling and dealing with the current staff to get those holes filled. Then they are going to need people who will compromise. The 5 day a week people are going to have to accept that to have their two days off, they have to take them on the days that Estrogen is able to work. One of the biggest plusses you have going for you is that you are willing to work weekends, you did mention that before, didn't you? Filling weekend holes in the work schedule is one of the biggest pains in the a-s! When I was oriented as a hospital supervisor it took me at least 6 months to learn all the nuances of scheduling. As a nurse manager it is, without a doubt, one of the biggest headaches any job could have.

    Of course, after some of the things you've written about this place they could always surprise everyone and just hire a bunch of new people. That, however, brings up a question in my mind. If there are a lot of nurses out there that they are arrogant enough to think will come through their doors to get hired, then there must be a lot of other nursing home jobs around.

    I want to go back to something I wrote in a previous thread and that is to probably start looking for another job. Don't depend on what you see in the newspapers. I would look at the nursing home listings in the phone book and locate them on a map. Check the Chamber of Commerce in the city where you live because they can give you a list of the nursing homes in your town. I'd start with the ones closest to my home and just walk in with a resume in hand and ask to speak with the DON about a part time nursing job. I'd be willing to bet that you'll find something that will fit your schedule--and, close to your home. Some places don't have a big turn over of nurses and don't go running to advertise when they have an opening or an opening coming up. A lot of nurses find their nursing home jobs this way. I can't tell you how many times I heard DONs talk about a nurse they just hired who was a walk-in (no position was being advertised).

    If you stay (are allowed to stay) at this place, you are most likely going to find that things a year from now will be different yet again. That is the nature of a lot of nursing homes. There is no rule about who a home can hire to be a DNS. DNSs come from all backgrounds of nursing. Some are hospital nurses that got tired of B.S. going on in the hospitals. Some are people who always wanted a leadership position and this was the first one to come along. Some get the job because they knew someone in the top brass. It doesn't necessarily mean that they had any training for the DNS job whatsoever. Just standing back and looking at what you've said about your DNS she sounds like a very neurotic person who is easily swayed and changes her mind on a whim without looking at realistic, hard facts. I know I'm being arrogant in saying that, but I've worked in a number of nursing homes and I've seen her type before.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from following:
    [B
    Be Busy
    Be Loyal
    Be Known
    Be Professional
    and Be Flexible. [/B].
    This is a great list. I just wish EMPLOYERS would follow it. Most employees I know have most if not all, the above attributes. Yet, people are screwed everyday by employers who are anything BUT loyal.

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