OHN overwhelming at times!!!

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    Wondering what type of workload some of you gals/guys have. My wife feels abused and from the outside looking in, my perspective, it sure seems like she is involved in alot at times.

    She is paid well over 73k/yr Mon-Friday......or that's what they say...I'll explain. Her normal duties are normal I'm assuming here:

    ..Disability, Workmen's Comp, Physicals, bloodwork, flu shots, insulin and random shots people need given etc, case manage, wellness program, emergency response team training, cpr training, monthly tracking of owned systems etc. the plant is about 500 people.

    This is where it seems excessive Safety results owner, safety tracking for the site, leadership meetings, safe practices, MCA follow up, root cause analysis for all safety violations, etc etc.

    So, what was a 40-45hr week job (medical) is now a 55-60hr week job (Safety) and now she is doing HR work too!! This doesn't factor in the calls at night or weekends where people just want to talk about their problems before she refers them to a company paid EAP program. She just got back from John Hopkins for a class and after talking to some of the OHN's there said "Either I'm way overworked or way underpaid!"

    Just wondering what some of you guys experiences are? In the end even though she is stressed out she is learning a ton. When she goes back to the hospital (1 day) month to hang with her old friends it's like a big break. She always says working the floor is so easy compared to work all I have to do is worry about my 6-8 patients and go home.........nothing to it.

    Above all of this she is enrolling in NP school come spring.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Perhaps, your wife should go back to her job description to review the essential functions of the job she was originally hired to perform. It is not uncommon these days for jobs to "morph" into something else, especially in light of downsizing and budget constraints. Once she goes back to the core functions, then she needs to speak to HR regarding ownership of safety duties, if they are not the essential function of her job. Taking on additional responsibilities, will not only burn her out, but could be a HUGE liability if she is not functioning within her scope. She needs to determine the legal ramifications and her license above all else. Protect your licence. AAOHN'S website has an article about the scope of an OHN's duties and when to or not to take ownership. Tell her to check it out! Hope this helps.
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    You are correct, the first part sounds pretty standard for an OHN. However, all the ownership of the safety stuff is definitely taking on the safety department's job. It sounds like they simply have kept piling on duties, and she has been unable to set firm boundaries. likely because she doesn't want to appear unwilling and wants to keep her job. Many companies are "doubling up" since they have either had lay offs or simply not replaced personnel they lost due to attrition. One cannot be everything to everyone. I was in a similar situation at one time, and I simply left. She definitely needs to speak with someone in HR about the fact that she is (I am assuming) on 24/7 call, and she is doing safety work as well as OHN work. Of course they often overlap, but she is doing it all. I do not see how she is going to do all of that and attend school at the same time. Something may need to "give". If she is serious about thinking about moving back to the hospital, she should at least check out the job market and see if that is really an option, and if it is, she should speak to them about a reduction in her duties. She wouldn't want it to be an ultimatum, but if necessary, she needs to be ready to leave the job and really go back to the hospital. It sounds like a better solution might be to seek a part-timer to help out, either in the nursing end of things, or the safety end of things. Perhaps a student studying environmental safety or industrial hygiene??
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    On call 24/7 is the norm the crappy thing is we argue a good bit about it. When she has her head above water she is fine, that rarely is the case though, most of the time she is always behind somewhere. Her big issue is "Promotion Path" per se I'll explain.

    Hourly employees have a clear and defined progression system
    Managers have a clear and defined progression system
    "The Nurse" does not have any defined progression system and that is why she agrees to do the extras.

    We'll see at times she feels great because she is able to do so much and other times she feels overworked and under appreciated. Either way she wants to stay at the current job to stay close to the Dr.'s that come in as well as stay in the Occ. Health umbrella.

    Her plan once she passes her NP is to go work at their Urgent Care or go try to get on at a larger corporation specifically Exxon who only hires NP's and they pay over 100K.

    Like we always say only another 20 months or so
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    The one thing that she can do right now to help herself is to set the boundaries on the 24/7 call. She would want to make sure she is "on the same page" as her supervisors and human resources before she does this. When I was first on 24/7 call, I had to train the employees (both supervisors and subordinates) not to call me for non-emergencies. The employees do not need to be calling her after hours to ask her about what they need to do for workers comp to get paperwork squared away or to arrange to change doctors, or speak about family issues, or mental health, etc. Unless it is a mental health meltdown (and then there IS the 24hour EAP crisis number to call-not her), or it is a true emergency call/triage call about an injured worker, then they do not need to be bothering her after work. Gently, and compassionately let them know what the normal business hours are, tell them to call you back at that time, and say if you want to leave a voicemail for me, then I will call you back on that issue as soon as I can. That way they know that she is hearing what they are saying, but setting the limits as to how much they can use her services. I am sure no swing shift or night shift supervisor would want her to call THEM while they are sleeping and ask about routine things. Again, real emergencies are no problem....anything that is not extremely urgent can be handled during her normal working hours, or she can call back AT HER DISCRETION after hours, if she likes to take some work home with her. I did it, and they learned quickly. GOOD luck! Hopefully that will relieve at least one burden.
    3rdcareerRN likes this.
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    The Nurse" does not have any defined progression system and that is why she agrees to do the extras.

    Jasil,

    Does she have a job description? It would be pretty rare for her to not have once since most professional jobs need a frame of reference in light of legalities.
  9. 0
    I changed my 24/7 call after supervisors would call in the middle of the night to see when someone was returning to work. How should I know right off the top of my head. We have over 1200 employees and at any given time 60 people can be out sick. (The facility has myself and one other nurse. There is a nurse on site for 12 hrs/day Mon-Fri). I also had employees calling me to call off sick. When I am at home, I do not have the resources to handle them calling off.

    I changed the message on my cell phone stating it was for emergencies only. Non-emergencies are to be called to the office. My phone also has all the numbers of people who are to contact me for an emergency. If my phone rings, and it is not one of the contacts, I will not answer it. This has drastically reduced the off hour calls.

    We have trained security to handle medical emergencies and employees are instructed to contact them on the off hours. It is a wonderful system. She may want to try it.


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