Low Census

  1. I'm a NG and just got hired into a hospital unit. I accepted their offer. Now that I"m thinking about it, they have also mentioned to me that most likely in a pay period (2 weeks) I will get at least one low census and will be called off. There may be opportunity to make it up on your on-call day.

    I'm wondering how much this low census will affect me? What can I expect? It is a closed unit and I will not be able to float. It is a good foot in the door to a hospital setting and in one of my favorite units.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   klone
    To me, low census call-off is a gift from the heavens.
  4. by   himilayaneyes
    I suggest you take the job unless you have a better offer. A job is a job. You can pick up extra money doing home health or working per-diem somewhere else if you have to. Who knows when an opportunity like this may present itself again. Also agree with pp that call-offs are gifts from heaven as long as I have enough PTO.
  5. by   Do-over
    I haven't had a problem so far - I don't want LC, but plenty of others do, seems there is always a volunteer so no one is forced to take it...
  6. by   violet_violet
    Yes I understand that LC can be a gift from heaven, just wasn't sure how it would be like it to have it on a regular basis. I mean at least once a pay period.

    But yes, I understand, it the best offer I have. So I am keeping it.
  7. by   pharmgirl
    When I worked med surg, it happened frequently. If I wasn't called off I was put on busy call (which is $2 an hour to sit home and wait for them to call if they needed me). There is usually someone who has requested to take the first call off, but sometimes it's just your turn. I agree, it can be a gift from heaven but when it happens often, it can really affect the paycheck. During slow months, it was almost a guarantee that every day SOMEONE was on LOA.

    This is one of the reasons I am now in ER. Don't need to worry about an LOA there. However, with jobs the way they are right now, a job is a job. Hopefully, you wont be called off a lot! Good luck!
  8. by   TheCommuter
    I work at an acute rehabilitation hospital where low census has been the norm lately, rather than the exception. I have also noted that day shift gets called off more frequently than night shift at this particular facility, which is one good reason why I work nights.

    This is why I always keep a part-time or PRN second job in my pocket. If one place does not have all the hours that you want or need, another place can make up for the shortfall.
  9. by   eegrnbsn
    Quote from klone
    To me, low census call-off is a gift from the heavens.

    Yeah I used to say the same thing. Now for the past month our small 32 bed medsurg/ortho unit is experiencing such low census (last Sunday when I left my shift there were 8 pts. on the floor) that they are calling 2-3 nurses off every single shift, and the "rotation" is going through the turns at least once per week. I haven't worked a full work week in over a month and all of our PTO hours are used up. So now when we get called off we just get the "on-call" pay ($2.50/hr) to sit by the phone for our entire 12 hr. shift and wait for them to call us, which they never do, because there's only 8 patients on the floor!! And we don't get any other pay, since our PTO bank is dried up. Heaven forbid you wanted to take a paid vacation sometime in the near future...

    So gift from the heavens...not so much any more :-/
  10. by   TooterIA
    We also have low census frequently, this is my full paycheck in several months. I average 2-3 8 hour shifts of being on-call each payperiod. And we rarely get completely called off, we have to be on call. So you cant go work at another job, go out of town, etc. If this really is your dream job I would go for it, but realize when they say 1/payperiod, in reality it probably is more. And most of my coworkers do not see it as a "gift from heaven", but rather lost wages to sit at home by the phone.
  11. by   ChristineN
    I would take the job, get a few months experience, and then start applying for something PRN. IMO other facilities and companies are more willing to hire a new grad PRN when they already have a job. You could also see if there is another department in your facility you could cross train on.
  12. by   violet_violet
    I can understand how much of a toll LC can be. I worked on a unit as an CNA and we had our lows there. Nurses were getting 2 LC in a pay period and most of them weren't happy and complained about how that is half of their paycheck. They worried how they were going to pay for their mortgage and such.

    I was told by my new unit that they rarely give 2 LC in a payperiod, so I'm hoping for no 2 LC. It did sound like some of the RNs also worked at another nearby hospital to make up for the loss hours.

    I hope that the hospitals will consider NG with a few months of experience for a PER DIEM position... I think I might just do that depending on how things go.
  13. by   klone
    IME, there is usually always one person who is willing to take LC. I would find out if the facility allows you to offer it to someone else when it's your turn. Where I used to work, the nurse was responsible for calling the other nurses and asking them if they wanted it, but they could always give it to someone else (and almost always was able to find another nurse who wanted it).
  14. by   Esme12
    In these economic times you are lucky to get a position at all..........take the good with the bad and if you have to get per-diem elsewhere...

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