Published Jul 4, 2009
So here's my story, I would love to hear some opinions...
I am a full time LPN working at a LTC facility 3-11. So while I working my normal shift yesterday, the 11-7 nurse called out. I was asked to work that shift but declined because of plans I had the next day. The mds coordinator was on call and she already worked a double. Her backup was the DON, she never returned our phone calls. None of management called back actually and no other nurses offered to work. To sum it up, I was told by the mds coordinator that I had to stay or it would be considered abandonment..so I stayed. : / How should I have handled this situation? I'm a new nurse and don't want to be walked all over...
Well, you should have stayed and worked. You were the "low man on the totem pole". Where I work, the DON and MDS coordinator are management positons, so therefore, they dont have to come in when we are in a bind.....
ahhhhh....soooo familiar....where i work no member of management nurse wise ever helps us ...on any shift day,evening, or night. now...before the upper ones we have now came to our facility the adon and don would help out whether it was taking a cart or doing cna work. not anymore...when i was 8 1/2 mos pregnant my don made me stay and work several doubles 2nd and 3rd from which my legs started to swell up to 3x their normal size...all she said to me was " well....im sorry but you have to stay".....and have i heard that a time or two since then. I have complained and complained for over a year and now its supposed to be "rotated out" among us. last year i worked every single double shift except maybe 3 and the only reason i didnt have to do that was b/c i was off those times or i woulda been stuck. on my shift i work the most amount of evenings..a 10 day track..the others only work prn, 8 days, 5 days or 4 days....and so my complaint was this.....i work the most, i have to do part of everybody elses work, i have a baby at home and no day time sitter (which i really dont) plus....i have worked all the doubles...i told the administrator and the don that i would no longer do that..i would count my cart and leave the keys but that i would stay when it was my turn to stay and that was it....there are 2 other nurses on my shift who are perfectly capable of staying and that it wasnt fair to pinpoint me nonstop. thus...the rotation came about. not only did i get extremely burnt out, it messed with my taxes also and cut my tax refund down by 4000 bucks b/c i ended up making way too much money to get enough tax credits even with my son. the next double shift is mine and then it will start over again.....maybe you should bring that up to your management if this continues to happen to you and it probably will for a while. they dont care about your plans...they only care about coverage.....but.....another point is this....in my state if a nurse cannot safely perform her duties d/t fatigue and exhaustion she should not be mandated to stay. another thing you can do next time is call a day nurse and see if they can come in a few hours early. even if its only 2 hrs early...that will make a world of difference....thank god i have one day nurse i can count on to do that for me when i have to stay over. shes stepped up for me more than i can count in this situation .
StNeotser, ASN, RN
Do you have children?
Once I was put in this situation and said, OK, so do I get charged with patient abandonment or child neglect? Shall I call state and find out? They stumped up for an agency nurse. They can always call agency, that's not illegal at all, just costs money they don't want to pay out.
The following is an excerpt from the guidelines for abandonment by the BON in the state where I practice:
"Issues not considered by the board to constitute abandonment:
The following are examples of employment issues and are not considered by the Board to constitute patient abandonment:
1. Failure of a nurse to work beyond her/his scheduled shift;"
Please check the BON guidelines in your state. It sounds to me that you were threatened and pressured and your management representative is either lying or poorly qualified. I think it is unreasonable and possibly unsafe, to be expected to work a double shift without notification. You have every right to refuse the extra shift, however, how you handle this depends on your relationship with your employer. What I mean is if your employer makes a good effort to accommodate your needs such as schedule, days off, vacation, etc., then they can reasonably expect you to help them out.
This makes me decide to look into what the BON of my state says about this. Great to know!
... and THIS ladies and gentlemen is what makes nursing so ridiculous. i just can't figure out why people don't want to go into nursing or the average "drop out" rate is 5 years after graduating. it just all sounds so appealing and glamorous to the next generation of future nurses .. pffft. no.
'you HAVE to stay.'
uhm, no. you completed your shift obligation. end of story.
there have been plenty of times someone has called out for next shift and all my work can do is ASK me to stay .that's it. they can't lock the doors and refuse to let me leave.
of course, they all want to avoid agency at all costs (literally), but that's too bad.
8 hours at the place i work is enough to make me want to die. i can't wait to get out of there!!
the only time i've heard of patient abadonment is when you've taken report on your patients and then you decide to leave. when i worked on the floor, nurses would come in, look at their assignment and say 'change it now or i'm going home' because once they got report, they didn't have that option. i don't know how correct that "rule" is.. but it worked for them! :)
stand up for yourself! call your BON and present the situation. have them mail, email, fax, whatever you the "rules." your employer can't argue with your BON.
don't ever let anyone threaten or coerce you into taking double shifts all the time or working absurd hours. your employers don't care about your son at home or what the extra $ did to your taxes. all they care about is getting a warm body in the building so they don't have to change a diaper.
makes needs known
When facilities work with a skeleton staff it doesn't take much to mess things up. Some people will always stay and work a double. Sometime the person who busts their butt to get through 8 hrs has to work 16. I worked a double about a month ago, it was either me or a girl who had young children at home. My shift was 3-11 and then I stayed and worked 11-7. I was busy the entire 11-7 shift. The stupid paperwork is the worst. I had the next day off. I slept on and off all day. Working a double ruined my day off.
Legally I did not have to stay, but someone had to.
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