NURSING CAREER, PER DIEM question... PLS help

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    Hi everyone! I've been a nurse for 2 years. Right now I'm working as a per diem for 2 companies. I was wondering if anybody has experience with working as per diem and calling out?! I am working in this company that asked me to work 5 days a week and won't give me benefits. When I call out, they give me a hard time. I reminded them that I'm a per diem therefore if I don't work, they don't have to pay me. So it's a win win situation. I called out in this company 3 times within 6 months time. The first two were family emergency. Then the DON talked to me and said I called out a lot. I said to them that I can't commit to the hours that they're trying to give to me but they won't budge. I wrote a letter saying I will call them for my availability but the staffing coordinator did not take it lightly. I said, if you want me to work more then give me benefits or make me a part time or a full time. The 3rd time I called out, the DON and the ADON called me and said I can't call out just like that. I gave them a 24 hour notice and yet they try to scare me by leaving messages on my phone.
    I don't know how to proceed on this. Looks like they're trying to lock me up but won't give me benefits at all. Can anybody get fired because of calling out too much as a per diem nurse?
    Last edit by pennylane18 on Aug 15, '12
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

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    Sure, they can fire you -- or simply choose not to schedule you again. Unless you have a written contract with them, they have no obligation to offer you shifts to work -- and you have no obligation to work a given number of shifts. If you signed a written employment agreement with them, then both sides have an obligation to act in accordance with the guidelines attached to that agreement. You can either choose to work under those guidelines or choose to not work for them.

    I suggest you do a thorough review of whatever policies, guidelines, etc. apply to your employment with this company. Be sure you are not in violation with any of them. Then decide whether or not you want to continue working for this company under those conditions.

    It certainly does sound like they are tyring to "have their cake and eat it, too." That is not very nice of them. But you need to review the official policies/guidelines that you are working under and then decide whether or not you want to continue working for them under those conditions. If they don't have any guidelines/scheduling policies, etc. then perhaps you could suggest they develop some so that you would all be working under the same set of expectations and obligations.
    pennylane18 and Meriwhen like this.
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    Quote from penny1987
    Can anybody get fired because of calling out too much as a per diem nurse?
    Yes, yes they can. Since you are per-diem, they owe you nothing...including any hours in the first place.

    IMO it's neither nice nor professional of them to treat you that way when you do call out. But I agree with everything llg said, especially the part of making sure you're not violating any policies that you don't know about. At my last job, there was a little known policy for all employees that if you had more than 5 absences/call offs in 12 months that you would start undergoing disciplinary action (e.g., warnings, counseling, etc...all the way up to termination after absence #12). Some employees found out about that policy the hard way :/
    pennylane18 likes this.
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    Thank you llg. I reviewed the policies and it only requires me to work one legal holiday of summer and one legal day of winter. I already worked most weekends this summer and worked one legal holiday of summer. The DON and ADON made it seem I called out too much and tried to intimidate me by calling on my phone and make me work because no one will take my post.

    I will write a letter saying that I will not work on scheduled days but will work for them when I call them and if they have anything available. I already asked them before to give me a part time position since they gave me a set schedule but my position is still per diem. I worked 5 days a week and I get no benefits. When I say I cant work on certain hours/days, they make it hard for me. They seem to forgot that I'm a per diem nurse.

    I havent returned their call yet cause I honestly am afraid of losing my job but now that I think about it... This job is not worth it. They gave me same hours, same schedule as a full time nurse but is not willing for me to get the benefits.

    Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it!
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    Thank you Meriwhen! My company is very small and it's also a nursing home. I only signed one thing that says I needed to worked on one legal summer holiday and one legal winter holiday. I already worked one legal holiday.

    You're right! It is unfair that they make it hard for me when I do call out. They seem to forgot that I'm a per diem nurse. I will write them a letter saying I will continue to work as a per diem and will give them my schedule and they can choose to put me on or not.

    Thanks again!
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    I agree that it isn't right for you to be employed on a per diem basis and be forced to work five days a week, because if you wanted to do that you could just go find a part-time or full-time job. I have worked on a per diem basis for a couple of different companies and their policies are generally that you must work one summer holiday and one winter holiday, and then work a set number of hours per schedule, such as 48 hours in six weeks, with at least 16 of those hours being on the weekend, or something like that. If you are working five eight-hour days a week, then you are working 240 hours per six weeks, which is a far cry from per diem, IMHO!

    I also agree that it is wrong to intimidate you by calling you and trying to force you to come in when you call off. That is just wrong, unless you called off every week or something. However, being employed on a per diem basis should not give you the leeway to call off more often or be treated more softly when you do call off, because the bottom line is, whether per diem, part-time, or full-time, when you agree to work a specific shift, the expectation is that you will be there, and you still leave a hole to fill in the schedule, regardless of whether you work per diem or otherwise. A sick call is a sick call, no matter who it is who calls in.
    pennylane18 likes this.
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    I agree that their expecting you to work five days without actually hiring you on full time is nonsense. But I would suggest you review the schedule as far in advance as you can and let them know which shifts you can actually work and which you cannot at that time rather than waiting to call out the day before.
    pennylane18 likes this.


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