Greetings, I am wondering about how your facility grants vacation time. I was only able to use 47% of my time this year due to denials and having one day rescinded. I feel that I am so upset by this that I have become a poor advocate for myself. I know the biggest reason that we have not been successful in getting our vacation time approved is that there are not enough nurses right now to cover all of the routine shifts. This facility will not use temporary help, so I have picked up 20 extra shifts this year (I kept count) and have turned down about 20 more. Is this a problem everywhere? I just feel that I worked hard to earn my vacation and am frustrated and surprised that I have been only able to use 47%. I would rather have the time off than be paid out. I followed the instructions of applying for the time off to the letter, still without success. The DON actually said to me one time(three days before I was to use a vacation day), "Well, I can't approve your vacation day, there is no one to work, I hope you aren't going out of town". Can you help me with solving this problem so I am successful in using 100% of my vacation time next year? I will thoughtfully consider any ideas. Thank you, LTC-LPN
Nov 21, '01
You must be a saint or something! You're so much calmer in your post that I would be in your situation... I'd have a lot of explitave delited's...
As far as your problem goes, how much sick time have you taken? My point is that vacation exists for a reason - as a NEED not a LUXURY, especially in nursing! Can you go up the ladder to complain? I understand that short is short, but if you have the courtesy to notify your hospital ahead of time they should be able to cover for you, even if it means hiring a temp. I once worked for a home care agency with only 6 nurses - very short! No one missed vacation! We occasionally had to negotiate for certain days, but all of us utilized 100% of our time. Our manager was always on top of us to take it in order to have down time and stay healthy..
I'm sorry. I know what I posted isn't helpful, but it seems to me that some anger might be in order here to give you the passion you need to advocate for yourself!
Nov 21, '01
I agree, you must be a saint.
From across the lake, in Northern Michigan, the vacation debate also seems to have no solution. Too many nurses fighting for not enough weeks off, especially in the summer and around the winter holidays.
My solution was a simple one. I simply said, you can find someone to cover me for vacation or you can find someone to cover me permanently. The thing about such a threat is you have to be prepared to back it up if you are called on it. And I was.
I got my vacation and always manage to utilize 100%. I work with others who are less vocal and end up not getting the time off they need and deserve. But they aren't willing to walk for it either.
A misguided sense of employer loyalty keeps many people in your situation. I say, if your employer isn't loyal to you, then find another employer.
Nov 21, '01
I just say I earned the time, I am taking the time!! I think I may be in for a battle this coming summer for 2 weeks that I want to have for vacation time. We will have 2 of our nurses off on maternity leave for part of the summer, which will really shorthand our unit. But, I plan to have my vacation. I need it. My feeling would be if your facility doesn't want to you to take your earned time off, I would be demanding monetary reimbursement!! The administration always seems to be getting THEIR time off!! So, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander!!
Nov 21, '01
My story is this. I don't work facilities much anymore but i know what you are talking about. I had turned in all necesary papers, well in advance of the time wanted. Time was approved. Made reservations, purchased tickets, made all other arrangements, all set, or so i thought. Was called in to DON and was told that i couldn't take the time off, it just wasn't possible. I stood my ground, particularly since it was approved in writing and eventually i was able to use my time. The hurting part was when i found out that the DON wanted to give that time to another nurse who was her friend and part of the CLIQUE.It changed my whole attitude. I feel that it is earned but also much needed, particularly in this field. Goes to show you how much they care about your mental and physical wellness
Nov 21, '01
I never felt that a cash payout was equivalent to getting the time off. You need rest. I worked several places where the rules on vacation were so restrictive (no more than 1 week at a time,no weekends, no holidays, or any time between 12/1 and 1/1) it was hard to actually use the time.
Working nights made it harder as did having a large number of maternity leaves. I actually did leave my last clinical job over this issue. Now as a gov't consultant I take my time off anytime I want and always take 2 weeks off over Christmas!
Nov 21, '01
Our facility also tries to tell us that we can't take vacation time over the Christmas holidays!! Sorry, Charlie. My family is 300 hundred miles away, and I do plan on going down for a couple days at Christmas time. Doesn't necessarily have to be on Christmas day, but I do plan to go between then and New Year's. I agree that the monetary payment is as equal, but I feel that if the facility is going to be a harda** about not letting you off, they should at least compensate you otherwise. Management always gets whatever time off they want, so the people who are in the trenches should be entitled to the same!!
Nov 21, '01
Thank you for your responses. I am getting paid out for my vacation time...that took some work, as initially the administration wanted to place the "unused" vacation time in the short term disability fund. I was really a pest about that because I tried to use the vacation time, just kept getting denied, so the least I expected was the cash. I am thinking ahead to next year and am going to be much more assertive and insist on time off, even if it means I have to part ways with this facility. It is just very frustrating and results in not having any goodwill towards the DON. It helps to hear your stories and what works and what doesn't. LTC-LPN
Nov 21, '01
It sounds like you have bent over backward to assist with a problem that is not yours. "there are not enough nurses to cover all the routine shifts." This facility needs to do something to attract them. They won't use temporary help. So you have picked up the extra shifts. If you did not pick up these shifts, what would happen? They would eventually be sited for unsafe conditions or would have to hire more or use agency help.
Just what do they think will happen when they drive yet another nurse away (you)? THis amounts to abuse in my book. They don't have to hire outside help because you are so willing to rescue them. They will only push you as far as you allow them to.
I'm willing to bet that administrative nurses (DON for example) do not regularly work shifts when short staffed. I have worked where they do and believe me the prorblem of short staffing doesn't last . When they have to do the shifts themselves over and above their other duties the problem gets fixed fast. (they are salaried and don't get paid for the shifts.)
Remind them that you have done more than your share and you value your time more than the money. You are being used. Complaining won't fix it.
Take a firm stand. Yes you risk your job. So start looking for one before you need it. And ask yourself if keeping this job is critical to your wellbeing, your are over worked, not afforded vacation time, and are not appreciated for it. Making nurses sick, angry, frustrated and tired is not in their best interest. It is more cost effective in the long haul to use agency nurses to keep their regular staff from burning out.
Last edit by Agnus on Nov 21, '01
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