On Call

  1. Hi, I was wondering how frequently most of you are on-call....when I worked hospice we had call for a week at a time once a month. Do any of you work for a hospice that has an on-call nurse and/or triage nurse? Thanks.

    Mandee
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   aimeee
    We have a triage (telephone) nurse on duty every evening/night and every weekend. There is also a nurse on call to take the calls in the field if the problem cannot be solved by phone for each of the teams (so 1 phone nurse and 3 field nurses on call for about 110 patients). No one ever does a whole week of call duty at a time! Usually only one night at a time on weekdays and they take turns with the weekends. I'm not sure what frequency it is now...no more than one weekend a month though.
  4. by   Wren
    Mandee,

    I was so fortunate at my last Hospice job b/c we had a on-call team that went on call every week day at 4PM and covered until 8AM and all day/night on the weekends and holidays.

    It made the difference between burnout and a great job. The on-call team consisted of 3 nurses who rotated call and backup. 2 of them had small children and the other had another part-time job so the on-call schedule met their needs. The primary nurses only covered call (usually the backup position) in the event of illness or vacations.

    Sadly, that particular agency merged with another and I understand from the people who are still there that all of that has changed but I don't know what the current set-up is.
  5. by   Mandee
    Wow! that would be so awesome! I'd be happy with once a week and every fourth weekend...we'll se what I find as I just started looking here in Charleston SC(we just moved here)
  6. by   renerian
    The hospice I volunteer for and the one my hubby is the director for has on call people. The people who work during the day are not the ones taking call unless the oncall people are on vacation. Your staff burns out otherwise.

    renerian
  7. by   FrankieJane
    On-call is bad where I am at right now, mostley due to being short staffed. We have a 24 hour triage that does a good job at handling situations over the phone. We have designated on-call workers for weekdays and weekends. The primary nurses function as back-up on call (and this is after working the regular shift).

    I end up doing back-up weekday on-call (5p-8a) about 5-6 times per month. On weekends, we must pull 24 hours of weekend call once per month (but I have never had less than 36 hours of weekend call). If you are on-call on weekends, you do not get an additional day off during the week. Also, if the designated on-call nurse sick or on vacation, the primary nurses are on-call all by themselves (with no back up) and are expected to work the following day (unless they use PTO time).

    If on-call was just used for emergencies, the on-call may not be so bad, but our facility has scheduled admission assessments and sign-ups on weekends. The designated weekend on-call nurse is an LPN and is not allowed to do assessments or sign-ups, she just handles emergency visits. No one wants to do weekend day shift on-call because they know they will automatically have 1-4 sign-ups or assessments to do. I worked on Christmas Day (on-call) and had to do 3 admission assessments and pronounce one death. There was a terrible snow storm and it took me almost an hour of driving time between each stop.
  8. by   nursechris1
    Our case managers take call from 430-9 two evenings a month, and are on call every 10th saturday from 8a-6p. We have two nurses who work just the weekends and holidays. We have three nurses who work the overnights only.
  9. by   FrankieJane
    Well, I was just on-call last night and found out at 9:30 pm that I was the primary...and ONLY person on-call. This was after working an eight hour day and seeing 6 pts. I only got called twice, but due to the times of the calls and the length of the calls I only had three hours of sleep. Now I got a call saying that I need to see a pt first thing in the am. I am literally so tired that my hands are shaking. Well, I guess I better get in the shower and get on the road.
  10. by   renerian
    Frankie that is terrible. I guess I am to old, almost 50, to work like that anymore. I have to have at least 6 hours of sleep. One of the hospices here does a week on call, at night, but the nurse has to work her regular schedule during the day. When I first moved here and interviewed there, they told me that and I about fell off my chair. I turned that down in a hurry.

    renerian
  11. by   Wren
    Frankie Jane....I feel badly for you and as much as I love Hospice, it might be time for you to move on. I know some Hospices are struggling to survive but you have to have a decent quality of life and this job doesn't sound like it is going to provide it for you.

    Could you check out other Hospices in your area and see what their call situation is? It may not be any better but at least you'd know what your options are. Like Renerian, I interviewed at several Hospices in my area when I moved here a couple of years ago and found the call situation untolerable and turned those jobs down.

    Take care and let us know how you are.

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