ALWAYS called to work on days off?

Nurses General Nursing


I'm a new grad working on a high acuity cardiac/icu step down floor. It's very overwhelming at times and I **cherish** my days off. I am full time and my usual is to work three 12-hr shifts. So, when I am not working I am literally called and asked to work everyday. The floor is always short (they don't seem to keep nurses long on this floor)....

So short at times the nurse manager charges and the usual charge nurse takes patients. I feel so guilty when I don't answer my phone and work. Does this happen alot where you work? I've went in a few times when asked on my days off, but I always end up tired and regretting it.

Should I feel bad about not going in more? Does this make me look bad as a new grad and new hire?

I struggled with this issue when I was a new nurse. Honestly, if you agree to work they will not be forced to address the staffing issue. I still receive calls on my days off sometimes, but I refuse to feel guilty about a situation created by those who control staffing. Just remember, you are more likely to make mistakes if you are overworked and constantly stressed. You and your patients deserve better that this.

Specializes in ICU.

i never answer calls from work. they get their own ringtone- my manager knows to leave a msg and I'll call back if I want. If the floor is short on a routine basis the hospital will just have to hire more nurses. Unfortunately they won't know that until something happens! Are you unionized by any chance?

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

The fact that you feel guilty shows that you're a conscientious nurse. But the guilt needs to go. Look at it this way...if you constantly give in, you will become one of those high-turnover employees. If you've fulfilled your obligation and don't want to come it, don't. And try not to worry about it. You're preserving your sanity and your personal life.

Plus, as the previous poster stated, if the unit consistently manages to fill gaps with current employees, they will never be forced to confront the main issue: being understaffed.

Nope, we're not unionized. I REALLY wish we were though. At times I'm so busy and overwhelmed I don't take a lunch break. I didn't eat a meal for the 13 hours I was in the hospital....pathetic huh? I'm not a diabetic, but out of curiosity I checked my blood sugar when I got home that day I didn't have a lunch break, and it was 81. ugh...i felt so bad.

Thanks to the person who mentioned work calls get their own ringtone. I'm setting that up RIGHT NOW on my phone.

Specializes in LTC.

Please dont feel guilty about not going in on your days off. With your job being so stressful you need time to recharge and take care of yourself.

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice.

It is important to have good boundaries when it comes to work. Time off is one of the important boundaries.

You are apparently working for people who know more about managing things other than people. Therefore, you cannot rely on your management team to care about you or how the job affects you. The fact that the unit is constantly short staffed is evidence of the managerial disregard for the professional nursing staff. Folks, like yourself, who care enough about the patients (and their co-workers) to sacrifice self...again and again.

Trouble is, with that "business plan" - in your setting, the management will continually burn out the staff resulting in the chronic understaffing. I would bet that the morale on your unit is not great...maybe okay, because of the professionalism of the staff perhaps. Perhaps I am wrong...I hope so.

Please just take care of yourself. You can have a long a varied nursing career which will support you financially and reward you emotionally and spiritually...if you take care of yourself!

Specializes in LTC.

Never feel guilty.

Specializes in PP, Pediatrics, Home Health.

Don't feel guilty.Whenever I got a call from work I always went in.I worked myself to the point of being over tired.DON'T go in if you don't want to!I wish I had done that!

I work prn, so it is a whole different story. When I worked full-time I would only answer the phone if I want to go in. After not answering or saying no enough times they stop calling. If you often go in on your days off they will call you first when they are short. If you feel too guilty about not going in, don't answer the phone they will leave a message. Then wait an hour or 2 before calling them back. That way the manager may have already found someone else and you don't have to work or feel guilty. If the shift is still open after a few hours then they are more desperate and more likely to offer you extra pay to come in.

Know when just to say NOOOOOOOO. I have learned the hard way. Let me tell you my story and I'll let you decide. I worked for a LTC and i was sitting at home and my phone rang it was work. Ok no big deal they asked if i can come in and cover. They told me all i have to do is show up at 2:00pm and someone would be in at 6:00pm to re leave me it was my day off.

No big deal right? Yeah i thought the same thing. Well the scheduler who called me decided that her and her other nurse friends that worked there would have the night off so they all can go to this street party the town hosted every year. Lets just say 600pm turned in to 7am there was never any relief coming. I didn't pack anything to eat and our break room was limited in food things also our change machine was not working.

See she knew you can only be on the floor for 16 hrs. So i came in at 2:00pm and my 6:00pm turned to 11:00pm then 11:00pm to 7:00am. I tried calling people but no one would answer the phone. Not even the DON or ADON ( Good Thing there was no Emergency Like State walking in or a fire )

The following morning i waited for the DON and i told her what had happen. She told me i should of not agreed to come in. So from that day forward i said NOOO to everything switching days to days off to even coming in. Not only was i hungry i was tired and pisst that day.

And i use to feel guilty if i didn't show up. I use to come in even when i was sick but you know I have learned in Nursing someone will try to screw you over so best not let them Say NOOOOOOOOOOO Just say NOOOOOOOOOOO. Work the hours your suppose to work and that's it.

New Grad or not. You don't owe them anything or your Co-Workers. Because how is see it. They are out having a life while your working for them. Screw That !! Your life is just important heed my advice or learn the hard way is what i say. Remember it could be you stuck there with no one coming in to cover. These are my thoughts use them as you wish

Specializes in ER, ICU.

Don't feel guilty. You work to live, not live to work. Don't be the enabler! (Unless you want the OT). I never come in on my days off. Sometimes they put me on call for a shift due to low census, then call me to work "extra" later in the week. Ha! They treat us like a tool that you keep in your garage until needed. It's a job I love and a paycheck, but that's it. Just keep saying "no thanks" every time they call.

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