I am a nurse manager in a small OB/NSY unit. Recently our OR expanded sevices and 2 of our staff left to go to OR. One of the nurses did it because she was on 12 hour nights and wanted day shift. I have another nurse who just talked to me about doing the same thing her co-worker did. Another nurse in our unit also hates the idea of being on full time 12 hour nights. We don't rotate shifts. Of course the day people are happy with their lives, but not my night staffers. Any suggestions? Help!
Mar 12, '02
I recommend making sure that you have a good night shift differential and hiring some nurses who want to work nights. You are obviously in a transition period right now. Its going to take some time for the staff to adjust and things to re-stabilize. With just about any change, some staff are going to choose to do something else. If you start seeing a mass exodus, I would re-think your staffing pattern. Otherwise, hire some nurses who like the PM shift and keep on going. I run a facility with 12 hour shifts and no rotating. It works for us, just fine.
You may want to consider a rotating position too that is a combination of days and nights. Might be enough of a compromize to keep some nurses who otherwise might leave.
Mar 12, '02
Thanks so much for your reply. I appreciate it. I think you are right...it is going to take time for the staff to stabilize after all this change. It is really difficult for everyone right now. For years, the night rotation worked well..until OR opened some day positions. I just hope that I can find staff that like to work nights. You are right about the shift diff. Ours is not as substantial as some places. Night staffers here earn $1 extra per hour compared to day shift staff. What is the common shift diff out there? I am open to any ideas. Thanks again.
Mar 12, '02
I don't know what your market calls for in a night shift differential. In our market, night shift nurses get around $2.00 to $3.00 extra per hour. Regardless of what nurses in our area make though, nursing salaries are usually market driven and vary significantly from region to region. I would call around to various "like-facilities" in your market and find out what others are paying for the night shift differential. If you don't think you will get any reliable information, you may want to propose a salary survey to be conducted by your human resources folks or your nurse recruiter, if you have one. I would also discuss this first with your supervisor and get his/her buy-in on the salary survey and possible increase. A RN turnover is very costly to any facility (typically $18,000 to $20,000 or more) so it wouldn't hurt to check your salaries and make sure you are competitive in the market place. If you find out that your differential is lower than the competition then you have some good data to justify asking for an increase.
If the salary survey doesn't reveal any significant differences, sometimes you can put some incentive program in place to make the night shift nurses OK with staying on nights. Sometimes its money, sometimes it can be some other benefit that is only available to the night shift- maybe you can make some change to the schedule that is only open to the night shift. Get creative, ask your charge nurses for ideas. Good luck.
Mar 13, '02
That is a great idea. I will take your advice. I am headed into work right now and will talk to my night staff about ideas. Retention is so important. We are also looking into job sharing. Some of the staff believe that it would really help. Do you do that where you are? If so, I would love to hear how it is done at your place. Thanks!
Mar 13, '02
I agree with hiring the nurses who love to work nights versus any other shift. I use to be one of those nurses, and enjoyed working 8 or 12 hour nightshifts. It worked out well for my family at the time. If hospitals would only hire nurses for their choice in shifts, then the turnover wouldn't be so high, providing all their other needs are met.
Jun 1, '02
It may help as was stated to try some variable positions. The dept had full time days and full time nights without rotation. A few people felt they would never get to work days due to the longevity of the staff. Full time nights was driving them away. I suggested we try a variable position where she worked some day shifts and then some nights in the same month. It helped cover some holes in each shift and gave her new perspective and kept her employed. She works a week of days then nights. We rarely mix them in the same week, but she has requested a few schedules like that. Works good for her. And for the dept.
We also have differential of 1.75 evenings and 2.50 nights, 2.00 weekends and holidays. It makes more attractive benefits for all.
Jun 2, '02
I worked with one staff member to see if we could go to 8's, but the night crew did not want any part of it. They like their 12's. The problem is in my unit is that we only staff with 2 RN's per shift and we are unionized. If I created a position for this staff member where she was the 3rd RN, then on days we had a low census, she may be asked to stay home and this may be more of a frustration. I plan to look into this more in the fall after all the vacations are taken. Until then, I welcome all the ideas I can get from any of you. IF you come up with more ideas, please send them my way!!
Jun 2, '02
Oh, I forgot to mention that I agree with the shift diffs that bbnurse mentioned. Our hospital is exploring this seriously at the moment. I am hoping that it all goes through so that our night staff is better retained.
Jun 9, '02
When the 12 hour shifts were introduced it caused some anxieties but, with support staff predominantly prefer them. We have staff rotation and we also have 8 hours shifts with the 12 hours shifts. Morale was low and there was a feeling of unfairness from staff so, i organised team build sessions which were amazing. Empowering the staff to look at the whole unit, the needs of the unit, the needs of the staff and how to produce a happy working environment was discussed. The results were brilliant. Staff felt they really understood their colleagues so much better than the perceptions that they had. Junior staff participated in developing self rostaing which gave great flexilbilty but, also ensured that the unit was adequately covered. I found that because staff felt they had control or a say in the organisation they appeared to be more motivated and enthusiastic in their positions.
Jun 24, '02
Joan, thanks for your comments! I agree with you. It is amazing how some members are so focused on themselves until someone shows them the "bigger picture" of the unit and its needs.
Jun 25, '02
At one hospital I worked at, NOBODY worked full time day shift. The 12 hour persons(36 hrs/week) rotated days and nights. When I worked there, I worked 2 twelve hr shifts and 2 eight hr shifts. My 12's were 7a-7p and my eights were 3-11 shift. The rotations were Days/Nights, Days/Eves. You could work straight nights or evenings but No one worked straight days. This wasn't a unionized facility.
Jun 25, '02
Some of the doctors suggested that we do a rotation. Our hospital is unionized and the higher seniors who are on premanent days say NO WAY to a rotation. This makes it difficult for night staff to get a chance to have somewhat of a dayschedule ever.
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