Low census days (whine) - page 2

I just got called off for the second time this pay period due to low census...there are 8 pts. on the med-surg floor, none in L&D where I often work, and only 2 in the ICU. I can't believe it.....a... Read More

  1. by   glascow
    We're having a low census this summer also. Per diem gets cancelled first, then full time. The full-time people get cancelled by a rotating list. I work per diem, so I am usually the first to go. If a full-timer would like to be off, then they are given the option to stay home, and I'll get to work.
    I agree with roxannekkb, we should not be cancelled due to low census. Anyone else feel this way?
  2. by   earthling
    roxannekkb,

    You couldn't have said it better. Amen.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Low census=low number of patients.
  4. by   flashpoint
    LOL...I got called for low census just a few minutes ago. I am going to go in for the first half of the shift and help with things like beds and baths. They have a patient in ICU that they are talking about transferring to Denver, so I might see if I can play paramedic on that trip. I also am going to take my grubby shorts and t-shirt and see if the guys from maintenance are ripping out any more drywall. We are very lucky that we have the option of coming in and doing 'whatever' instead of taking low census. A couple years ago, we didn't have the option and we were all losing a full day every pay period. Now, we end up doing a lot of 'busy work', but at least our paychecks don't suffer.

    I've often wondered why other areas in the hospital don't take low census. A great example is our dietary department. They don't do meals for employees...just in patients and one out patient, so does it really take three of them to prepare meals when there are only three patients?
  5. by   WhiteCaps
    Our shifts are cancelled on a loose rotating approach.

    CNA's are often cancelled first.
    Our CNA's were cancelled so much this summer that one showed a 2 week paycheck of $23 ! Yikes! Not surprising we had a couple CNA's quit!

    Some nurses request the time off.

    But, I don't understand how it saves the hospital any money to have people sitting home collecting vacation pay?! They still pay anyway! I just don't accumulate much vacation/PTO pay using it like that.

    Our hospital doesn't let us come in and work on other things.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    I wish my hospital would do that....I wouldn't mind doing carpet cleaning or painting, I've done it before and for a LOT less $$ than I make now. I've only been back there for 5 months, so I can't use any of the paid time off I've accrued yet (have to have >6 mos. on the job).

    I like what someone else said about how we nurses are some of the only professionals who get sent home when there's not enough to do. I can understand why no one wants to pay us to sit on our butts for 8 or 12 hours, but they should at least give us the option of doing something else around the facility. I mean, we've already planned our lives around our work schedule, and while there are times that the extra day off is welcome, we should be able to choose whether to take the loss of pay, use a vacation day, or come in and sweep floors if that's all there is to do. Oh well..........
  7. by   Angelica
    No low census for me. I work in a rehab hospital. Our pt load doesn't fluctuate much.
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Figures, this past weekend census was HIGH, everyone was "tachy" without dianosis (at the time). So busy i had an RNA (registered nurse applicant) as my helper because they'd called off too many CA's without adding up that the ER was packed like a sardine can.

    We had that same airhead coordinator to thank for that one. The next floor down had 12 patients, we had 34. The other sections and floors were just as uneven.
  9. by   babs_rn
    Originally posted by roxannekkb


    Do the checkers at the supermarket get sent home if things are slow, or the sales people at the department store, or flight attendants if the plane isn't full? Do bank tellers get sent home if no one comes in, do waitresses go home if the restaurant is empty?

    Yes, they do. If the labor costs are exceeding a certain percentage of the profit margin by a particular hour in the day, people get sent home.

    I used to work in the ED in a busy college town but if we hadn't seen X number of patients by, say, 2pm, one of us would have to take off with a beeper but had to be within 10 minutes of the facility and come back by a certain time, usually a couple of hours. THAT really blew....especially since I lived an hour away so I just had to hang around town and window shop or something.
    Last edit by babs_rn on Aug 11, '03
  10. by   jayne109
    I kinda wish we were called off by seniority. We have an order:
    travelers, then double-time staff (people who sign up for extra shifts) the prn staff, then pt sstaff then full time staff.

    we have had a low census some this summer and I have not been called off once. We can put our name to be called off if we want to be and I have once and didn't get to be off. I have put my name down for another day so maybe I will get that one.

    oh well, I do like a full paycheck.

    Melissa
  11. by   BadBird
    The hospital I scheduled in tonight cancelled but I picked up my shift in my back up hospital. It pays to be flexible and orient in more than one facility. Hopefully the census will increase soon.
  12. by   roxannekkb
    There is always something that you can do at work, even if the census is slow. QA, cleaning up the unit, staff development, do education modules, patient teaching, writing up care plans, etc. There's all the stuff that can be done that no one has time to do when it's busy.

    As I said before, this system of cancelling staff people because of low census puts nursing in the same category as a migrant worker, a seasonal worker, or a day laborer. We are supposed to be a profession. Being forced to lose a day's pay or to take vacation when you don't want it does not equate with being a professional. I find this to be one of the most insulting things about nursing, and yet I've found few nurses who speak up against it. And the only thing I've seen a union do, is making cancellation by seniority. That works really well--all the junior people eventually quit, and the staffing shortage is chronic. That happened when I worked at Kaiser.

    There is no excuse for this. A nurse commits to a certain number of hours per week, that should be honored by the employer. Afterall, if a nurse wants to cancel a shift, what happens? The hospital throws a tizzy. Nurses get written up for calling in sick. You get disciplined. But yet, the employer has the right to do it to you?

    As I said before, no wonder there's a shortage. This is just one more aspect to workplace abuse.
  13. by   nurse51rn
    If staffing is up and census is down, we get offered a paid on call. If you don't take it when it's offered, you get pulled to cover the unit where the paid on call is. It doesn't seem to matter that our unit fills up every night from ED admits. Last night we had 10 admits (we were full staffed-thank heavens). But when we tried to transfer out a patient in sustained SVT, we were told that there were paid on calls in IMC, CCU, and ICU and they didn't have enough nurses to cover an "extra" patient. Hmmmm...I thought the whole idea of a POC was to call out a nurse when needed.

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