Unit Managers Working as Staff

  1. How many of you work on units where the manager has 24hr responsibility which includes working as staff when there is no one else to fill in? Our hospital requires it and the managers are dead tired and have no family life due, in my opinion, to upper management not allowing for adequate staff during periods of high census...every Jan-March.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   jeepgirl
    yup, that about describes our unit. and, they are salary... so they don't even get time and a half for it.
  4. by   Tweety
    Our manager's here have their beepers 24/7 on and get beeped all the time with staffing concerns.

    Our manager has had to work staff, usually in the charge nurse role, many times. The last time she had 37 patients and no secretary and was the charge nurse. She pulled a night shift after having worked that day about 3 months ago, but that was probably the only night shift in a year she pulled.

    It doesn't really happen all that often though. Most of the time if we're short, we're just short and we take more patients. The manager has too much to do to be expected to step in every time there's a nurse short, because someone is always calling in, and she could work every day during our busy season due to staff call ins or high census, and that wouldn't be right.

    The manager's boss, usually leaves it up to the manager if she can work staff or her unit can run short. Upper management is not very forceful in making manager's work staff.

    Frankly, my manager is a better manager than she is a floor nurse. Her gift is in management, so I'm not dissing her. She did her time on the floor for many years prior to being promoted, and now I prefer to be a manager.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    Our "manager" is the nursing supervisor and the ER nurse so she/he has enough to do. They will help with our breaks and lunches though. And if we have problems with IV starts, they will help. And they are very open to any questions or concerns we may have. But they have their own job to do.

    I work part-time as the nursing supervisor and ER nurse. You do both at our hospital. You are the only nurse in the 3 bed ER Plus the nursing sup for the whole hospital.

    So, I don't expect them to have to carry any part of the acute nurse's load.

    Rural nursing .. .

    steph
  6. by   flashpoint
    LOL...our nurse manager came in to help with assessments last week and didn't even know how to fill out the flow sheet *they just changed it and unfortunately, it is NOT self-explanatory)...she finally just gave up and wrote out a narrative instead of trying to figure the stupid thing out! She also had a bazillion questions..."Where are the tongue blades?" "Where are the new boxes of gloves?" "Where can I find spray for the commodes?" Sigh...it was nice of her to pitch in, but she really didn't help much!
  7. by   NurseConnieR
    Our Directors are expected to step in and work if staffing is unsafe. One floor's nurses call in sick all the time and therefore, their Director has no time to make things any better for them because she is always working staff. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Directors should have clinical skills to be able to pitch in and help but the point at which we begin to use them as staff we hurt ourselves.

    Sometimes I wonder why any nurse would chose to go into management!
  8. by   nursemaa
    As a manager, it's refreshing to hear so much support! It is extremely difficult to work 50+ hours per week, just to complete the requirements of my job, only to know that my "off" hours may be spent either trying to do staffing from home or coming in to work as staff (without pay). Or, I let my responsibilities slide while I fill in. Then my boss is on me about it. I honestly think that most of us don't mind helping out when it's busy, or for last-minute emergencies (I had a nurse once who was in a car accident on the way to work), but to be expected to be the charge nurse, staff nurse, and still do the administrative stuff is a bit much. Remember that we have a job that is different than yours, but still with many responsibilities that we are expected to fulfill. So thanks to all of you who feel our pain!
  9. by   ProfRN4
    Quote from nursemaa
    I honestly think that most of us don't mind helping out when it's busy, or for last-minute emergencies (I had a nurse once who was in a car accident on the way to work), but to be expected to be the charge nurse, staff nurse, and still do the administrative stuff is a bit much. Remember that we have a job that is different than yours, but still with many responsibilities that we are expected to fulfill. So thanks to all of you who feel our pain!
    :yeahthat: Something that is often forgotten, yet so true. I am currentyl on both sides of the staff/mgmt coin. I haven't yet been told "well, why don't you put on a pair of scrubs and help us out?". I've heard it about others, though. So when I put on my scrubs, who will do my job?

    As for the filling in on low staffed shifts, my NM (where I am staff) does occasionally do it. If she fills in Sat night, and then God forbid, takes off another weekday everybody says "Oh, she's off again?". :angryfire ANd it really stinks when you are salary. God forbid she actually leaves at 4pm one day, they say the same. But it's okay for her to stay until 12am (to prepare for JCAHO). Then they all say "when is she leaving"? (She's obviously cramping their style).

    It's a dirty job.
  10. by   BETSRN
    Quote from zenman
    How many of you work on units where the manager has 24hr responsibility which includes working as staff when there is no one else to fill in? Our hospital requires it and the managers are dead tired and have no family life due, in my opinion, to upper management not allowing for adequate staff during periods of high census...every Jan-March.
    Our manager rarely helps us (she usually ignores us) and when she does, she is no help at all. I have no respect for managers like that.
  11. by   Rena RN 2003
    our dept manager comes out of her office and does triage when we get slammed in the ED. she knows her dept. she knows her staff. she knows her staff wouldn't ask for the help if it weren't needed. she encourages us to ask for help if we need it. she doesn't have a problem calling in extras even though higher management discourages spending the money on extra nurses. i have the utmost respect for our manager.
  12. by   BETSRN
    Quote from Rena RN 2003
    our dept manager comes out of her office and does triage when we get slammed in the ED. she knows her dept. she knows her staff. she knows her staff wouldn't ask for the help if it weren't needed. she encourages us to ask for help if we need it. she doesn't have a problem calling in extras even though higher management discourages spending the money on extra nurses. i have the utmost respect for our manager.

    YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOO LUCKY! Your department manager is lucky to have you all as well!
  13. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from zenman
    How many of you work on units where the manager has 24hr responsibility which includes working as staff when there is no one else to fill in?
    My nurse manger does have 24/hr call but I only know of a hand full of times in the past 2 years that she's had to work because there was no one to fill in. That would only be when one of the night charge nurses calls in and another can't be bribed with incentive pay to cover. The rest of the time call-ins are covered by agency. I think it's a shame that a nurse manager cannot count on her time off. I realize they choose the position but they shouldn't have to be slaves to it either. I know my nurse manager has someone take call for her every other weekend. I make a point to deal with my own issues when doing charge on the weekend and have never had to call her. When she is at work she fequently comes out to the floor when were slammed and does admissions or techs. The previous nurse manager wouldn't even wear scrubs to work, meaning that she couldn't come out to the floor and work even though she had been told she had to wear scrubs to work or at least have them with her in her office. She luckily ended up getting fired!
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Our manager is really not able to function on our floor. Her knowledge of our speciality is very sketchy at best. And we never see her at night, ever.

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