AHS--Short staffing, call back, and the ever popular OT issue

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    Joanna started a thread in the regular forum, but I'm more interested in how we are handling it, here.

    I work acute care. I'm a part-timer by choice. I have been obliging my manager by picking up extra shifts both at straight time and OT. Now here's where it gets snarly. Under the AUPE contract, pt LPNs only get double time on their weekends off, which give the employer a lot of straight time shifts for LPNs. The pt RNs still have their extra double time days.

    As a result, staffing is constantly calling in LPNs because they know our skill set is more than appropriate for the units we work. They go through their pt RNs available at straight time (who 90% of the time turn it down) and head to the LPNs. If they can't get an LPN at straight time, then they call the double time RNs. AUPE are you listening? Your negotating skills sucked big time when you bought the Capital Health "oh, your nurses are the first to loose the slash pay, the pt RNs and RPNs will lose it on the next contract".

    I'm tired of working full time. I'm tired of casuals who want to work M-F days or As. I work my required nights and extra nights because the casuals won't and if I don't they will have an RN on double time work an LPN shift. Yet, we have RNs on my unit who will be straight on the phone to UNA if they see an LPN work one of their shifts at any pay level.

    Other units are happy to run with a majority of LPNs and I'm talking Surgery NOT Medicine or Transition or LTC. One Charge RN, one floor RN and five LPNs, no NA on that shift ever. Every patient was well cared for, all meds on time, all wound care performed.

    I think it's time AHS looks at how much part timers are working and increase either their position sizes if the worker wants it, or starts creating new positions. Staffing needs to start telling casuals if you can't work shift (and they all agree to it at their interviews) you can't have the M-F full time hours you have been snagging. I'm tired of being asked to work "any shift" on two different units, when I know that their are casuals who used to work shift until they realized they could get away with just snagging days.

    It amazes me how they can have countless paid hours for Unit Clerks and are busy creating HCA positions. How about they just step up and sort out their nursing house first?

    Ah, that felt good to get off of my chest...
    joanna73 likes this.

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  2. 31 Comments...

  3. 1
    Thank you for starting this thread Fiona. As you know, I'm an RN with AHS, but I totally feel your pain. We are grossly overworked. And why can't your unit just offer OT to the LPNs first, before calling the RNs? That's messed up. AHS and their part time/ casual status is ********! I am sooo sick of working short staffed, exacerbated by the fact that 2 RNs have retired, and I work out of a rural facility.

    I have no problem picking up shifts, and I have for eight months. Recently however, I have been very vocal with my colleagues that "enough is enough. I need a life too." Not to mention, our HN is aware how short we are, yet she still takes her 3 day weekends while some of us work OT. I am not doing this anymore. I'm exhausted and said to my colleague, "you are going to find yourself even more short when I quit."

    Oh, we have a whole list of casuals. But they all have other jobs, or can't or won't work nights, weekends, whatever. So the regular staff end up working OT. I am a .85, yet I figured out based on the amount of shifts I have been working that I am working at 109 percent FTE! No more. I wrote "NA" for not available on all my days off on the schedule. Don't call. The last 3 weeks on my days off, I've had calls to come in and I've been saying no. My life cannot revolve around nursing.

    I am not quitting, but I am asserting myself. If they keep it up, I'm calling UNA. Oh...the killer...we hired an LPN, but she is not allowed to work by herself in charge. Stupid! She can work with the RN. So what was the point of that? We only have one RN per shift. Just give her some shifts, I say. We're short! Enough is enough of this. On the next rotation, I am not picking up any more shifts. That is that.

    How do others feel? What is your experience?
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Jul 27, '11 : Reason: changed to all ****
    Fiona59 likes this.
  4. 0
    When I worked LTC, an LPN could charge a unit if there was an RN somewhere in the building. Might be worth bringing to the powers that b's attention.
  5. 1
    The RNs basically said no to that. She is a very recent grad, and they don't want to be responsible. However, she is good and would be able to work alone, if even to cover a couple of shifts. She also wanted shifts. Now she went somewhere else to find more hours. Stupid.

    I called UNA today to inquire about my rights. They said mandated OT is allowed, BUT, the HN should work shifts and mandated OT is not allowed from the same person all the time. So I'm well within my rights to decline and I'm going to keep doing so. Better yet, just not answer the phone. I'm not on call.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    I also said to UNA, "Why don't you look at creating more FT positions with AHS? The casuals can't support themselves, so many of them have other jobs. Then they are unavailable when we need them."

    It isn't rocket science. His reply, "Yeah we always have problems, especially in rural areas. Nurses don't want to work out there."

    Yeah, well they are going to have even bigger problems when their rural nurses quit. There are ways to make it attractive. Relocation bonus is one. Guaranteed hours is another.
    Fiona59 likes this.
  7. 0
    The Regularization of the Workforce process is underway as we speak and will deal with some of these issues. I'll explain it in greater detail when I get home.
  8. 1
    Sorry maybe I am missing something here... but if you don't want the shifts why are you accepting them???

    I recently moved to Alberta from Vancouver BC and am now working for AHS as a part-time LPN (by choice as I am also taking distance classes). I have not yet nor do I intend on picking up any shifts outside of my regular scheduled hours. They used to call me all the time on my days off in Vancouver too and I just simply didn't answer the phone if I didn't want to work. They are not paying me to be on call...
    ajaxgirl likes this.
  9. 1
    I work at a small facility. I have not minded working extra until the last three weeks, when it has become too much and I have said so. When I didn't answer the phone, I had an email. The last few times I have not gone in, but it's the point of even getting routine calls at all. And what I'm noticing is that when you work at a small facility, you get asked constantly, because they have few options.
    Fiona59 likes this.
  10. 2
    Quote from joanna73
    I work at a small facility. I have not minded working extra until the last three weeks, when it has become too much and I have said so. When I didn't answer the phone, I had an email. The last few times I have not gone in, but it's the point of even getting routine calls at all. And what I'm noticing is that when you work at a small facility, you get asked constantly, because they have few options.
    I do kind of see you point there. Being called non-stop on your supposed days off can be very annoying. BUT I never feel guilty for saying no and don't think anyone else should either...
    ajaxgirl and joanna73 like this.
  11. 2
    You're absolutely right. However, when you work out of a small facility, they are good at laying on the guilt. I'm not buying into that anymore. The last three weeks, I haven't gone in for extras, and I'm happier. it just feels like it never ends, though. Come the new rotation, I'm not picking up. See, that's the thing that has me really annoyed. I picked up a few to help out, then they were still asking for more. No.

    My advice? Don't work at a small facility. When I move on, I've learned a lesson. The UNA rep said this is nothing new for rural. They never have enough staff at the smaller facilities.
    Fiona59 and lilaclover like this.


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