On Call Again!

  1. I am newly hired at a small rural hospital. I hired on to work three days a week. I love my job and the staff I work with. My problem is that I am being put on call ALL THE TIME. Since November I have rarely worked my scheduled three days. Some weeks I have only worked one day! In order for me to make my financial obligations I have attempted to sign up for other shifts where there is a "need" but will often be called off for those shifts too. Part of the reason is that the census has been low.(we lost our orthopedic doc and rumor has it that we will soon be losing a couple of other docs) but GET THIS. I got a copy of the master schedule and realized that the number of nurses they have hired is way over the number of nurses they need. For instance on two of my days there are 11 nurses regularly scheduled but they only need 7 to fully staff the floor! My scheduler said they over-staff to account for sickness and vacations. Is that common? I kind of feel used. I mean, I have committed to be available to them if they need me for 24 hours a week but they are not committed to provide hours to me. Any thoughts?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   VickyRN
    Shavsha, it is unconscionable the way management at your facility is treating you. They are taking advantage of you.(Unfortunately, this "call" thing in an all-too-common occurrence in nursing). The bean counters only see us as a money drain, their biggest "black hole." Don't value nursing as a profession or treat us with respect. They don't realize that we NEED our posted hours and WE COUNT ON THIS MONEY to pay our bills. We have budgets and expenses just like the rest (despite the steriotype, most of us are not married to some rich-guy and just using our pay for frills). So, if they are treating you this way, you owe them no loyalty. My advice to you is to hunt for a good parttime job and work in another facility in addition to your "fulltime" job. That way the hours from both will probably add up to a fulltime paycheck. If they call you on one of your days off, desperate for help, you'll just have to tell them, sorry, I'm working at my other job! This is the wise thing to do--trust me, I know from experience!!!
  4. by   RNKitty
    In some hospitals with unions the contract states that your hours are guaranteed. Swedish, in Seattle, has a low census fund and if there are no volunteers for call, you can come in anyway and do nursing related duties - such as CE, policy review, QI, etc. If you contract with the hospitals for a certain FTE, they should hold up their end of the bargain!
  5. by   canoehead
    We had the same policy to call off people during times of low census, but the money saved was counteracted by the money spent orienting new people when the older nurses left because they could get guarunteed hours elsewhere. So now we have people work with the extra nurse or do paperwork, chart reviews etc when we have down time and save $ on orientation. I think the relatively slow shifts are appreciated when they have extra staff and they can renew themselves for the times when they are overworked.

    If you were to do some number crunching I am sure that the money spent on orienting new people or paying travellers would offset the extra hours they would be paying for during low census. See if you can come up with something and they may change the policy. Or if all else fails come up to Maine and help me out (we're good to our nurses!)
  6. by   shavsha
    Hey, thanks for your thoughts. (By the way I am sitting in my uniform....on call again!....I think the part-time job thing is a good idea. Happy Holidays!
  7. by   BadBird
    Hi There,

    Remember the old saying that you can only be taken advantage of if you let it happen. Tell the administrators that you are no longer avail. 24 hrs. and if you don't get the number of hours you need consider this a two week notice and then find another job. There are plenty out there.

    Good luck.
  8. by   PhantomRN
    I left my last job because of constant cancellations. The loor was way overstaffed, and It was not uncommon to get canceled once or twice a week. Well, I must say it was great when I did work as the patient to nurse ratio was WONDERFUL, but I could not handle (financially) being cancelled.
  9. by   LindaHP
    Hey Shavsha,

    we're in the same boat.

    I do home health and after working EVERY weekend for the past 8 years to avoid child care, my last child finally started attending school full time.

    I had a talk with my supervisor about the possibility of me working during the school hours only. She said great and put me on the schedule for 3 days per week.

    That was 3 months ago and I have maybe worked a max of 5 hours per week. They refuse to even call me if they need me. I am expected to call them at 9am sharp to see if I am on the schedule. Kind of hard to do since that is when I have just finished dropping off the kids.......So I would dress in uniform daily, drop the kids and then find a phone booth.....Didnt work out too well, considering I was only being asked to work once in a great while.


    I finally gave my availability as "not officially available, but feel free to call any day and check with me".....

    What the difference is, I dont know, but now I am called when I am needed.

    Also, when I want to work, I just pop in and ask if anyone wants the next day off......can be very tempting at the end of the day.

    I thought about switching jobs, but no one else is going to let me work within my kids school times. So I put up with more nonsense than I would usually.

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