On-call in the OR - page 2

by lozstar 10,318 Views | 24 Comments

Hi everyone I have been an operating room nurse for nearly eight years. I really enjoy what I do but I have had dreadful call ins over the last month. Over one weekend I worked an extra 20 hours on top of my normal 40 hours.... Read More


  1. 3
    Anytime I leave after midnight I tell them I'm turning my phone off at 6 AM (when call is over) and will call them when I wake up to see if I still need to come in. IMO if we don't stand up for ourselves who will..... The reason I do that is because the first time I worked until 2 am and was told we will get you out early I was not the first to leave and worked almost all day.
    Rntr, GadgetRN71, and CTORnurse like this.
  2. 2
    I agree! I have a rule of my own...if I am not in bed by 12:30am..I am not coming in the next day. first call works from noon until 9pm(or whenever cases are done) and on call(with trauma beeper) from home until 7am.. second call works 9am-5:30pm( or until cases done)... there seems to be no clear lines as to when second call gets called in...I know for sure that if we are in middle of a case and there is a trauma, second call gets called in..but I worked 17 hours straight on a holiday call once with only a 30 min break..brutal..I will not put myself or patients at risk because i worked past midnight and I am working at 7am next day..I call out. end of story. There should be no backlash from that...I know soem nurses and techs will go in next day anyway, but there are no medals or awards for that and I see it as dangerous. Some people might be able to function like that, I know I cannot. I know my limits.
    Nordicspirit and SandraCVRN like this.
  3. 2
    Maybe some of you might be better off in some other form of nursing. Call is part of the game and when it seems most of you whine about too much of it this might not be for you. What part of call do you not understand? I'm sure this was explained to you when interviewing for the job. I'm sure it wasn't a sudden surprise. As you can see I am not too sympathetic to your cause. I like how some of you set your own rules if the call shift doesn't go your way. This is what OR nursing is all about. Go ahead now and rip me apart because I only check this place out about every 3 months or so.
    peabozzle and RNOTODAY like this.
  4. 2
    Call is call...cover it as needed. Not working the next day is about safety for myself and patients. We don't need any more martyrs.....Doesn't have anything to do with working in the OR. We have a nice plaque in our break room honoring someone that feel asleep driving. Nope, not me, you can think I don't belong in the OR but I don't want my name on the wall.
    C-lion and GadgetRN71 like this.
  5. 2
    Quote from shodobe
    Maybe some of you might be better off in some other form of nursing. Call is part of the game and when it seems most of you whine about too much of it this might not be for you. What part of call do you not understand? I'm sure this was explained to you when interviewing for the job. I'm sure it wasn't a sudden surprise. As you can see I am not too sympathetic to your cause. I like how some of you set your own rules if the call shift doesn't go your way. This is what OR nursing is all about. Go ahead now and rip me apart because I only check this place out about every 3 months or so.
    Of course we all were told about call when we signed up for the job. However, there are times that a nurse does become unsafe after an extensive work shift and call shift, and should not be caring for patients the next day. Management (which I suspect you are) needs to understand that and advocate for safe patient care. There are many studies out there detailing the obstacles to patient safety when a nurse is exhausted from working too much.
    scrubb14 and SandraCVRN like this.
  6. 0
    I went to Per Diem so no more call for me. I just live too far away and we have to cover OBs C-sections. I had to stay overnight every time I was on call..it got old fast. I have recently gone back to school too so call would be a pain.

    My last hospital was union and they had to give you 8 hours rest time in between call and your next shift.
  7. 0
    Quote from msancheeze
    I just transitioned from a small, regional hospital OR where I took over 100 hours of call every four weeks to a large, level I trauma center OR where I take approx 32 hours of call every four weeks. I can count on one hand the number of times I was on-call and did not get called in at the smaller hospital. The level I OR is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and if I get called, it's to backup the teams already working. It seems like the smaller the hospital, the greater the hours of call. I liked working call and my paycheck was pretty well padded, but my work/life balance suffered...a lot.
    This is very true. The last hospital I worked for was a large trauma center. It really had to be life or limb for them to call you and being that I was ortho, we didn't get called in hardly ever. We needed to have anesthesia available for gunshots, stabbings etc. and we just covered ortho. I was there 4 years and got called at home to come in 3 times. The majority of my calls entailed me staying over a few hours, that's it.At this place, they call you for things that aren't even emergencies..often, the doctor just wants to get it done. And, of course, those stupid C-sections..Going per diem was the best thing I could have done...I'm not against taking a job with call again, but I will have to live closer and it'll have to be a big hospital. I found out I'm a big hospital type of gal anyway,lol.
  8. 1
    If you guys have shared governance at your hospital, then you have a lot to talk about.

    First, if you're getting called in that much, then you must make a killing in OT. I think your director should open up 2 FTEs to staff a team on nights, M-F. We staff 2 in-house call teams, and 1 out-house call team, which is a day shift team that rarely gets called out. Places that aren't so busy, could just use 1 in-house call team, and use the other team as back-up call. Weekends will still need coverage, sorry.

    Second, why aren't your OB teams trained to do C-sections? Do they have to provide a baby nurse, or do you do that too? There's a nice little program specifically for them through AORN. There should be no need for anyone to come out for a C-section, when able bodied people are already at work in THEIR dept.

    Third, I'm a compressed weekender that works evenings/nights only. There are 3 of us, who work (2) 16 hour shifts for 32 hours/week, which is full-time. For a nice salary, I help keep the Mon-Fri people at home and in their beds on the weekends. That would probably be asking too much to have weekend staff.

    Ask your director to consider these options, and have your shared governance reps advocate for you. Surgery drives revenue for the hospital, so you guys should have more negotiation with call. Remember: The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
    peabozzle likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from kguill975
    If you guys have shared governance at your hospital, then you have a lot to talk about.First, if you're getting called in that much, then you must make a killing in OT. I think your director should open up 2 FTEs to staff a team on nights, M-F. We staff 2 in-house call teams, and 1 out-house call team, which is a day shift team that rarely gets called out. Places that aren't so busy, could just use 1 in-house call team, and use the other team as back-up call. Weekends will still need coverage, sorry.Second, why aren't your OB teams trained to do C-sections? Do they have to provide a baby nurse, or do you do that too? There's a nice little program specifically for them through AORN. There should be no need for anyone to come out for a C-section, when able bodied people are already at work in THEIR dept.Third, I'm a compressed weekender that works evenings/nights only. There are 3 of us, who work (2) 16 hour shifts for 32 hours/week, which is full-time. For a nice salary, I help keep the Mon-Fri people at home and in their beds on the weekends. That would probably be asking too much to have weekend staff.Ask your director to consider these options, and have your shared governance reps advocate for you. Surgery drives revenue for the hospital, so you guys should have more negotiation with call. Remember: The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
    They ( the OB staff) refuse to learn how to do C Sections. It has been this way for decades and the culture of the hospital is such that they get away with it. IMO, one of these days there is going to be a problem- what if your call team is already doing a case and an emergent c- section needs to go? They have a cheat sheet poster hanging up in their little OR upstairs..which is scary. Many of us have tried to make suggestions about alternative scheduling. It goes nowhere. People here are just very set in their ways. I actually caught grief for daring to suggest alternative solutions..so I go in for my shifts and don't bother anymore.
    Rntr likes this.
  10. 1
    I would go so far to say that I am burnt out on call. There's just something about being yanked out of my bed at 2am and having to work every third weekend in addition to my 40+ hours per week that makes me want to leave the OR entirely. Harsh words for an OR nurse: "I'm thinking about going back to the floor".
    GadgetRN71 likes this.


Top