Taking care of yourself first

  1. I am curious to know how many of us feel guilted into going into work when asked to come in extra? I just consulted with myself for an hour and a half before finally calling my unit back after the manager left a message on my machine asking me to come in and help out. I know it stinks for my co-workers to work short and know how much I appreciate it when someone comes in to help out when I am the one working. I often do come in extra when asked. Today, I really didn't want to, though. No real excuse, just wanted to enjoy the day off. Anyway, I finally called to say I would not be in, but geez, it took me two hours to talk myself into doing what I wanted to do!

    I know it is more to do with personality than anything, but I do wish I had the easy ability to say when I don't have it to give and just want to take care of me! Anyone with me on this?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   TLJRN2
    I know how you feel, my director does a really good job at giving you a guilt trip if you do not want to work on your day off. I am a float - so in theory I can work anytime I want as there IS ALWAYS a need somewhere. I have gotten to the point that I do not answer the phone if the hospital calls. I will listen to the message and depending on how I feel I will call back and sometimes I dont call back at all. It gets tiring to be called day after day for assistance, I understand they are short staffed, but I have a family that comes first.

    We should not feel guilty becasue we do not want to spend our whole lives at our job.... family needs to come first and if and when you can help out on occassion great, but dont feel guilty for having a life. How many directors come in and help out when the floor is short staffed? Not to many (seen it a couple of times) and why is that??? Becasue they also have a life..outside of work.. somewhere there has to be a balance...
  4. by   rdhdnrs
    I used to work double shifts, extra shifts, anytime I was asked. This was when I was a new nurse and didn't know better!!!
    The thing is, no matter how much you help out and no matter how much your coworkers, mgr etc apprciate it, that appreciation will never make up for the time you miss with your family. And it will never make up for the time you miss rejuvenating yourself on your days off. Believe me, the extra money isn't worth your life.
  5. by   suehp
    I am a Manager of a Nursing Home and when we are short staffed I try my best not to make the staff I am calling feel guilty. It is very hard though, but I think it is also down to personality too - some staff just say no and that is the end of that , but others start giving me reasons why they cant, and sound really guilty!. I try my best not to sound disappointed on the phone so they dont feel awful, but it is difficult!

    However I do envy them at times being able to say No as when we have a trained nurse call in sick and they cant get anyone else - Being the Manager I have no choice (I know it is my job and thats what I get paid for), but when I have done a 10 hour shift and 2 hours later get called to come in and do a 12 hour night shift it can seriously make me cry!

    However I digress!!

    I understand how you feel - I didnt feel well the other night about midnight and thought "shall I call in sick or not". By 1am I didnt feel much better and was due in work for 7am and working until 8pm. I decided that I felt so guilty I would go in, so I did. But by 7am I felt much better, and then I kept thinking what if I had called in and now I feel so much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You are human and no-one can blame you for saying No and wanting a day for yourself! I think if you dont say No occassionally, then perhaps they would expect you to say yes all the time and then you would feel more obliged and more guilty!!

    Sue
  6. by   Nurse Ratched
    I work fulltime elsewhere during the week and choose to pick up a couple of weekends per month at the hospital. Keep getting calls from NM asking if I want to pick up this that or the other extra hours - answer is always no as I don't wish to devote any more of my life to work than I already do. Finally asked him point-blank (smiling, but serious), "You *do* realize I work 40 hours per week before I ever set foot in the hospital?" Told him I would let him know if I was in a place where I wanted to pick up extra hours beyond what I already work.

    And yes, I do feel bad for my coworkers being short and having to rely heavily on float staff, but poor management of resources by TPTB (including abusive behavior toward staff that caused them to leave and the unit to be short) is not my issue.

    Getting cranky in my old age .
  7. by   sjoe
    Unless you are a manager, being short of staff is NOT your problem, unless you make it yours.

    My view:
  8. by   fergus51
    I pick up a fair amount of OT, but feel ABSOLUTELY no guilt in not taking extra shifts I don't want. They hired me as full time, and as long as I work the hours I was hired to work, anything else is just a bonus. If a hospital needs to rely on OT then management needs to hire more people.
  9. by   Disablednurse
    When I was working before I had to quit, they thought nothing of making us feel guilty about not being able to come in. I was the MDS coordinator and they thought nothing of us being on call for a week at a time and not being able to do the MDSs, but also thought nothing of raising h$!! when we were behind on care plans and other things. They did not care if we worked 18 hours a day and I did on occasion. They went home at the regular time and returned at regular time. They had me believing that it would not run if I was not there. However, now that I am disabled, the home is still up and going. And they are running the guilt trip on someone else.
  10. by   sbic56
    If it weren't for my peers, I wouldn't give saying no a second thought. I do realize that the more that one does come in extra, the more they are expected to. I owe my employer nothing, but I still get that twang of guilt thinking that my friends are working their tails off. Just me, I guess.
  11. by   cindylouwho
    the older you get..the easier it is to say no.......I don't ever feel guilty...frankly we wouldn't be in the situation we're in if we weren't treated the way we are.....I don't answer the phone but I do get told every year at evaluation time that I don't work any OT......never that I do a good job and use no sick time...just that I don't do OT....once again...they wonder why there's a nursing shortage....I don't
  12. by   cindylouwho
    and I agree....being short is not your problem....so don't make it one
  13. by   Cheyenne RN,BSHS
    I never work overtime, except to finish my own charting or work that I started on a patient near shift change.

    I am an older nurse and have been at this too many years and know that there is never going to be enough staff, and I am not the bad guy for saying no. If I am sick enough for the doctor and the bed, I am too sick to work.Took me forever to learn it though.

    Seems nurses feel guilty by nature.

    I missed out on so much with my daughter growing up, then my grandson. I can't go back and reclaim the lost time with my family, but I don't plan make the same mistakes again either.
  14. by   sbic56
    Originally posted by cindylouwho
    the older you get..the easier it is to say no.......
    I've been at this for 24 years and still get sucked in at times. I am getting better at it, so I guess that what you say is so. I did say no today and have a had a wonderful day off! Going for a bike ride now...

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