Forced to work longer than scheduled hours.... - page 2

by PrincessO 9,808 Views | 39 Comments

I am a new RN at a long term care facility. I was called in after midnight on Friday to come in to work that Saturday morning to work for a few hours because they were short staffed. Even though it was my weekend off and I wasn't... Read More


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    When I was in orientation at my very first nursing job ever, I agreed to work the first half of a 3-11 shift for another nurse so she could stay for the end of her own son's birthday party. It was a hall I've never worked, knew nothing about, had never even been in. I was left alone with 2 aides and over 50 patients, none of whom I ever saw before, and they were not wearing ID or anything, some couldn't speak, were confused, etc. I struggled for hours passing meds and was still sooo behind when 11 came, and the nurse never came. She never called either. She called a nurse from another hall and simply said she wasn't coming in, she didn't "feel well" anymore. I was not prepared to stay all night, there was no breaks, no food, nothing, and I only agreed to work 4 hours. I was struggling alone, a brand new nurse in a brand new hall with zero, absolutely NO training, and she STUCK me. I called the manager and she said she would report me to the board if I left and it was patient abandonment and blah blah blah and I'd lose my license. I guess one of the other hall's nurses took pity on me because she finished med pass in her hall and came and relieved me after a couple hours. I quit the next day, over the phone.
    chare, DizzyLizzyNurse, jadelpn, and 4 others like this.
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    It was a rotten thing to do. But....it seems everyone assumes the supervisor doesn't have kids or other obligations. And, to the poster who said your governing body only requires you to notify someone else that you can't stay? That doesn't sound right. I think once you accept the keys/responsibility the duty is yours until someone relieves yiu in person. A phone call to management isn't sufficient.
    chare and Nascar nurse like this.
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    CrazierThanYou,

    That nurse has a friend punch her in? That is a fire-able offense at most work places from my experience. Even one time, even for one minute. That's a form of employee theft in the eyes of employers. I'm surprised she has gotten away w/ it. Either oversight is loose, or this nurse has been lucky or is well liked and viewed as difficult to replace. Most work place managers would not tolerate this behavior, esp. if it were chronic. Also, being habitually late.... another fire-able offense. IMO this nurse is lucky to still have a job, esp. w/ so many new and eager graduates looking for work.
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    She agreed to half a shift, not a whole shift, the duty is hers for the time she agreed to, there was another person to relieve her, the supervisor, but she didn't want to. If you don't want to accept responsibility for staffing issues, don't be a supervisor. I am the head charge nurse at my job, and I stay if needed, I don't make other members of my team, because I am in charge, it is ultimately MY responsibility, not the other persons. The supervisor has more responsibility and should have accepted the keys and let the girl go home at the time she agreed to work until. Her obligations are not any "more" than the supervisor, but if the supervisor failed to get staff in there and properly address the problem, I'd say that's her problem and her obligation now!
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    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    It was a rotten thing to do. But....it seems everyone assumes the supervisor doesn't have kids or other obligations. And, to the poster who said your governing body only requires you to notify someone else that you can't stay? That doesn't sound right. I think once you accept the keys/responsibility the duty is yours until someone relieves yiu in person. A phone call to management isn't sufficient.
    Well actually the supervisor was sitting at the desk so she wouldn't of had to come in she was already there. At my facility the supervisors are at the desk (they work the floor when we are short staffed).
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    In my facility a supervisor or unit manager must work. I have a very good staff that covers for each other and does not call out much. I get nervous when I have to cover for someone as I do not know the patient's meds as well as someone who does it on a regular basis so it takes me forever, the patients get upset and I feel perpetually behind. I think this is why some folks balk. You feel like a newbie and unsure of yourself.
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    Quote from JZ_RN
    She agreed to half a shift, not a whole shift, the duty is hers for the time she agreed to, there was another person to relieve her, the supervisor, but she didn't want to. If you don't want to accept responsibility for staffing issues, don't be a supervisor. I am the head charge nurse at my job, and I stay if needed, I don't make other members of my team, because I am in charge, it is ultimately MY responsibility, not the other persons. The supervisor has more responsibility and should have accepted the keys and let the girl go home at the time she agreed to work until. Her obligations are not any "more" than the supervisor, but if the supervisor failed to get staff in there and properly address the problem, I'd say that's her problem and her obligation now!
    Thank you JZ_RN for replying.

    I thought maybe I was missing something because I am a new RN. The other supervisors have always taken responsibility for the floor if we are short staffed(which we always are), but in this particular case the supervisor refused because she knew she would also be short staffed from 3-11. She works 7-3 and 3-11 on weekends because she no longer wants to work during the weekday. Whether I stayed or left she would still be there 7-11, but usually at the desk. I thought by me coming in it would save her from at least not working the floor during the heavy morning med pass. Her beef should have been with the company and not with me. I am a new RN with no supervisory authority or pay so could not understand why she thought it would be my responsibility to deal with staffing issues. As you have stated, my "obligations are not any"more" than the supervisor". The coordinator and the DON called to tell her she had to take the keys, but she still refused until they found someone to stay over from 3-11. I have learned a valuable lesson....never to accept a partial shift. Had I just walked off and left the keys I'd be in trouble for abandoning my shift as I had nothing in writing saying that I was only supposed to work half a shift. This was a very uncomfortable situation and I could not understand how they allow this type of stuff to go on there. I am going to call the DON to make an appointment to speak with her about this in person as I feel like I was tricked. Do you have any advice? Should I type a statement or write an incident report?
    Last edit by PrincessO on Aug 12, '12
    JZ_RN likes this.
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    First off, you should always have a policy and procedures book at hand. It should never be locked away! This is a GIANT RED FLAG!! Our facility will mandate a staff person from home to come in and cover hours. EX: If night shift calls in and they can find coverage for 7p to 1a, we will call and mandate a person from 1a to 7a if they are scheduled to work the 12 hours after that, making it an 18 hour shift. Granted, I work on an Acute Care floor. If no one is available to cover voluntraily and no RNs from the oncoming shift answer their phones making us unable to find coverage it is the supervisors duty to cover the hours. We have nursing supervisors on call 24/7. Granted, I have great coworkers and we usually find a way to work everything out. In my facility, the longest a RN is granted to work at one time is 18 hours (we schedule 12 hour shifts). Also, if you came in voluntarily to cover a shift, you cannot be mandated to stay longer than you agreed because you are there voluntarily. Also, once you are into OT hours, you can no longer be mandated. We can always voluntarily stay. We also receive an incentive pay for covering sick calls and for voluntary OT... $50 for 6 hours and 100 for the full 12 hours.
    Hope this helps you. If it was me, I would be looking for another job already!
    PrincessO likes this.
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    Quote from jlivermore
    First off, you should always have a policy and procedures book at hand. It should never be locked away! This is a GIANT RED FLAG!! Our facility will mandate a staff person from home to come in and cover hours. EX: If night shift calls in and they can find coverage for 7p to 1a, we will call and mandate a person from 1a to 7a if they are scheduled to work the 12 hours after that, making it an 18 hour shift. Granted, I work on an Acute Care floor. If no one is available to cover voluntraily and no RNs from the oncoming shift answer their phones making us unable to find coverage it is the supervisors duty to cover the hours. We have nursing supervisors on call 24/7. Granted, I have great coworkers and we usually find a way to work everything out. In my facility, the longest a RN is granted to work at one time is 18 hours (we schedule 12 hour shifts). Also, if you came in voluntarily to cover a shift, you cannot be mandated to stay longer than you agreed because you are there voluntarily. Also, once you are into OT hours, you can no longer be mandated. We can always voluntarily stay. We also receive an incentive pay for covering sick calls and for voluntary OT... $50 for 6 hours and 100 for the full 12 hours.
    Hope this helps you. If it was me, I would be looking for another job already!
    Thank you jlivermore! This actually does help me a lot. Sounds live you are at a great facillity!
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    To CrazierThanYou - regarding that nurse who always comes in late ... my guess is that she's not just oversleeping or running behind. I'd bet she has another job on 3 -11. For some reason, she might not want your employer to know about it. (There might be some story attached there.)

    If she does have another job, her chronic lateness and absenteeism would not be tolerated by your employer, hence her great effort to keep it hidden (by having someone else clock her in). But both she and her pal-in-cahoots are most probabably facing termination because of the time clock deceit. (I'll bet that person who clocks her in also works on her unit.)

    Just know too, that some people have a trick of clocking in, but then disappearing and not showing up on time on the floor. I WORRY about these types who have UNACCOUNTED periods while at work! I wonder if she disappears while on duty?!? That would really worry me esp with the chronic absenteeism and lateness...


    To OP - I learned to screen my phone calls and I very selectively, and very infrequently return calls (mainly because I know that staffing is the only reason for someone to be calling me). And I'm not interested in being stuck - nobody appreciates the effort. In all my years, only one employer made significant effort to recognize and appreciate staff's help for emerg staffing. (And that stopped after new 'manglement' took over.)

    Once you're in the bldg, you can't just leave - that's a 'given' that goes with the territory that you learn. But you WERE snookered!


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