Unreasonable request??

  1. I am a new grad working in ICU on night shift. I really like my job and I am almost done with orientation. I have awesome co-workers (well, 90% of them) and I know they will not let me drown when I need help when I'm out of orientation.

    When I got the job, I thought my manager would be flexible, work with a person if they had scheduling problems, etc. I realize that due to the nature of our business, I can't expect to work M-F 9 to 5. Weekends, nights, 12 hour days are part of it. My co-workers who have worked there for a long time say that she's always been flexible and helpful in regards to scheduling. But here lately, she's had several people come to her with reasonable sounding requests and she's turned them down and they've ended up quitting. We do self-schedule, but the less seniority you have, the less likely you are to get what you want (which is the way it should be).

    I'm planning to go back to school in a few years and I need to take some science classes. I was planning to start this coming fall and take them one at a time and still work full-time. Do you think it would be unreasonable to ask not to be scheduled two nights a week so that I can attend class? Should I tell her far in advance or wait till about a month before school starts? Or should I just plan on quitting and trying to get a job somewhere else, letting them know up front that I will need certain days off for class?

    Any opinions, anecdotes, etc. would be appreciated.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    Try first telling her your plan. If she cannot promise total compliance, find out how many absences are allowed before you plunk down any money at the school.

    However by your having the same two nights off every week you may incur some trouble from your co-workers who will NOT ever be able to have those days off.

    Around here there are also every other Saturday -all day-courses. See if that might be the case there.

    Then there are always the online classes.

    Good luck in the new job.
  4. by   whipping girl in 07
    I have to take chemistry with a lab (ugh!) and the nights I'll need off will be Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. I wish I could get out of the lab but that's what's required, since my nursing school had special "dumbed down" (as my teacher put it) chemistry that won't count toward my MSN. Those seem to be the most popular days of the week for everyone to want to be scheduled in my unit.
  5. by   ratchit
    You could make the pitch to her that you're trying to advance your practice and ask for her support. Maybe if you pick up a couple extra "unpopular" shifts to compensate it will go over well. Or ask to be scheduled on other days some weeks and offer to use some vaca time if needed.

    Basically, show her how your taking classes benefits the unit and offer to compromise. It shouldn't be undoable- you're asking for a little schedule flexibility two days a week for a semester- 13 weeks.

    If you can't get the manager to be flexible when you're in school full time in a couple years, you do have other options. By then, you'll have enough ICU experience to work agency. It's a bit less "safe" than staff nursing but you get to say when you're available and when you're not. Many agencies give benefits to agency RNs that work full time, too. And with the higher salaries, you might be able to work fewer hours. You could also consider going per diem at your current hospital if you don't need benefits- more scheduling flexibility.
  6. by   lever5
    Your manager should make arrangements for you. I recieved my BSN by going to college every saturday for 2 years. When the hospital where I was working decided that I had to work saturdays, I quit. There is always a place to work that will appreciate further education. I gave notice and found a job without difficulty that was happy to give me saturdays off.
  7. by   micro
    plan well in advance with your supervisor......surprises and last minute notices doesn't make supervisor happy.....
    scheduling can not be fun.........
    but hey.....take a class that is offered at other times than your work schedule.........of course I know there will be exceptions, but hey......you gotta be flexible if you expect flexibility.....
  8. by   Zee_RN
    Lordy, we always try to give those pursuing education special consideration. For instance, in a six-week period, you are allowed 8 requests--but requesting not to be scheduled 2 days/week for schooling only counts as ONE request. The Saturdays is tougher as everyone is asked to work 2 Saturdays in six-weeks. But, hey, it could be Saturday night, doesn't have to be daylight.

    Nothing is ever guaranteed, in writing, though. Circumstances could change--people go on leave of absence, vacation, retire, etc. and then the schedule has to be covered...no one can predict the unexpected. But, as a general rule, we really try to honor requests.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Konni, most managers will work with you if you involve them in your plans and you are willing to be flexible for her as well.

    I've always had good results finding my own solution and presenting it to my manager, ie "Diana will do charge for me on Wednesdays and I will take her Fridays so we can work out babysitting..." Maybe you can work out a plan with one of your peers that will benefit you both. Good luck.
  10. by   NICU_Nurse
    I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with your post, and I apologize, but I couldn't help wondering what part of Louisiana you're in? ;>P
    Last edit by NICU_Nurse on Aug 28, '03
  11. by   Agnus
    I'd let her know of my plans yesterday. Also if this must take presidence for you let her know that too. It may mean you job but you must be honnest and fair. Be willing to be as flexible as necessary now before school starts and help out any time or place that is realistic. Let her know of this and why you are doing it.

    Also if you at anytime hire on to a job and already have simular plans let the manage know at the interview. I did and it has paid off.

    You must be willing to give inorder to get. Granted sometimes a manager cannot grant your request no matter what. You should have a solid back up plan in place if you don't get what you are requesting.

    Springing it on her at the last minute will not win you points and may be the end of your job and or any consideration. If she knows that this is comming up she has some time to try and make arrangements to make this possible for you.

    Don't tell mom on monday morning that you need to bring cookies to school today for a party.
    Last edit by Agnus on Mar 30, '02
  12. by   whipping girl in 07
    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded to my question. When I go back to work this week I will make an appointment to talk to my manager and let her know my plans. I suppose if she cannot work with me I can either change facilities or change my status to PRN before I start school (we are allowed to change status after 6 months in a position). I may even be able to change departments if needed; the ED is desperate for nurses from what I hear!

    And Kristi, I'm in Lafayette.
  13. by   Agnus
    Sounds like a plan. Good luck with your endeavors.

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Unreasonable request??