What would YOU do????Hmmm...

  1. situation is as follows......new job...just was appointed the night charge nurse over several people who have been there longer. they don't mind..they are pretty happy about it in fact..gulp......sometime in the future i am scheduled to be in charge with one borderline incompetent nurse known to have difficulties and lax in delivery experience.....another scheduled is a float-a nice person but also not skilled in delivery....other seasoned nurse tells me she is calling in on that night for previously scheduled issues. she figures i will appreciate the heads up....that means i am the only delivery nurse on a potentially busy unit and in charge......the evening staff has lately left when they should have stayed and turfed patients to the night shift...particularly those on prior to this horrific shift.....i can't exactly tell the nurse manager i don't like the way things are since no one knows the other nurse intends to take a sick day...i could ( and so want) to call in which means evenings will have to stay....tempting, but not very professional or ethical....torn torn torn......faced with similar circumstances....what would you do??????
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Patient safety has to be your Number One priority here---not the other nurses' egos, or their "sick" days, or their personalities. Inform your nurse manager of these issues immediately......your patients' lives may depend on it! (And can you imagine the fallout if something bad were to happen and it was discovered that you had prior knowledge of the situation---and did nothing?)
  4. by   mother/babyRN
    I appreciate that but informing the nurse manager that this person is intending to take a sick day will only work against me. The patients will be as safe as they would have been with her, as the evening staff may have to stay..I imagine I will go in because that is the way I am wired...I have to work with the person calling in sick, and she has a good reason for doing so. The hospital won't accomodate her and she needs the night off..I have to work with her so would never tell on her....
    Patient safety is an issue and sadly, two sick calls might make the problem dealt with by the nurse manager, who obviously didn't care enough to take care of the incompetent nurse problem...
    Thus, the dilemma....My license is the most important thing. If I go in, I agree to subject myself to problems beyond imagining...
  5. by   fergus51
    Completely unprofessional to call in sick like that, but I understand you have to work with her. Couldn't she switch shifts with someone, or get the other inexperienced nurses to switch with the evening shift? Making them stay late when this "sick call" is planned is just unfair to them. They have lives too and probably wouldn't be thrilled to know that even though there was advanced knowledge that this nurse was not going to be in, they have to cover by staying late. Word will no doubt get out and evening shift will be understandably upset.
  6. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by fergus51
    Completely unprofessional to call in sick like that, but I understand you have to work with her. Couldn't she switch shifts with someone, or get the other inexperienced nurses to switch with the evening shift? Making them stay late when this "sick call" is planned is just unfair to them. They have lives too and probably wouldn't be thrilled to know that even though there was advanced knowledge that this nurse was not going to be in, they have to cover by staying late. Word will no doubt get out and evening shift will be understandably upset.
    It may be "unprofessional to call off sick like that" but sadly and often we are forced to do so....You really never have? Sometimes there is NO ONE willing to cover or switch with you but call out sick and they always seem to manage to find someone to come in early or ar stay late....We are just entering a staffing crisis at our facility and we have NO pool and no part time nurses willing to work any more then their scheduled hours...Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do..... I work full time and every other weekend-in order for us to switch it means we must work many days in a row...Can't do it.....
  7. by   fergus51
    I really never have. I have switched shifts, rearranged my plans, begged for compromises with other staff members, worked hellish stretches and once just said I was not coming in period because an event was too important for me to miss, and they had plenty of notice. I have never lied about missing work.

    I have been on the other end though. I had some plans which were important to me and my relief just didn't show up. She called in sick at the last minute (I found out later it was for a wedding that she had known about for some time) and I was forced to stay late and ruin my plans. Needless to say I was very upset that this nurse had so little consideration for the fact that I have a life too, and we had a nice chat about it. I also didn't appreciate the fact that management would tolerate this type of thing. They need to work with nurses to guarantee flexibility and they need to deal with nurses who pull stunts that screw those of us who are there for our shifts. It's a two way street.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Aug 9, '03
  8. by   gypsyatheart
    Do the nurses on your unit take "call"? All of the L&D units I have worked have mandatory call. So, obviously, I would utilize my call staff...is that what you mean by saying the eve shift people would "have to stay"? As in, they're o/c? If so, and a nurse has to stay, then so be it! I, as charge nurse, would not call in, but would try,discreetly, in advance to see who might be willing to come in and cover if things get hairy. If all else fails I would be calling Administrator or Nurse Manager on call that night, if so needed, and getting their butts in there!
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    we DO have mandatory "call" where i work--- and the on-call nurse is called in when people call in sick or the place gets slammed.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Gosh I work ED and we have call and use it too. However, even with the nursing shortage, I would rather do without than worry about an incompetent nurse. She's gotta go!!! Keep a log so you have specific incidences. Write them up...go to management. If you know she is incompetent, you can be held liable also. You're the charge nurse now, take action.
  11. by   -jt
    <I have worked have mandatory call. So, obviously, I would utilize my call staff...is that what you mean by saying the eve shift people would "have to stay"?>

    "Mandatory on-call" or "have to stay late" - it still amounts to the same thing - Mandatory overtime. Why does one sick call automatically mean that someone on the eve shift gets mandated to stay? Where are the per deims, agency supplemental staff and volunteers for OT? This is what they are supposed to be utilized for. If staffing was adequate to begin with, one sick call would not be a catastrophe necessitating mandatory overtime. Maybe the underlying problem should be addressed by the management so this problem isnt yours to fix.
  12. by   nrsnan_1
    You are in a touch spot, no doubt. It is important to have cohesiveness in a unit. Nurses need to take care of each other. However, if an RN tells you she plans to call in sick because she has other plans, you need to talk to her up front and factual. I would tell her that she needs to find some other way to deal with that scheduling conflict, i.e. get someone to trade with her, or perhaps someone to cover the time she needs to be away. Calling in sick hurts everyone in the unit. I wouldn't talk to my manager until I talked to the nurse. You may be able to resolve this. I totally agree with the reply concerning patient safety. That is your first priority and I would tell the RN that so she understands where you are coming from. Hope it works out.
  13. by   mother/babyRN
    Well, I appreciated all these responses...Management is weak where we are, or at the very least, clueless, so this manner, although the boss is aware, is not managed well....The offending co worker and I talked so our personal relationship is ok...We also have flex hours, but not enough people to go around to have someone on forced call every night.....I went in and we ended up thankfully ( there certainly IS a God), having a quiet night where the other nurses issues did not need to be addressed.....Was a hairy night from stress alone, but in the end, I think I did the right thing...
  14. by   BETSRN
    You need to get your manager involved. Sounds like an accient waiting to happen.

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