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Any advice if your boss (an RN manager) isn't willing to work with your school schedule?

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by jss1985 jss1985 (Member) Member

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I'm trying to see if I can get into either an ASN or LPN program here in NYC, for Spring. I am a patient care associate at a hospital and we are part of a union. Both of these ASN and LPN programs are two hours away from my home and job (Bronx to Long Island). I don't have a car, but I'm willing to deal with the public transit 2 hour commute because its worth it. That's not the issue. The issue is this...

My shift is 3pm-11pm. 

The ASN program is in the day time, 4 days a week. Only 1 of those days (Tuesday) conflicts with my job schedule because its Lab from 1pm-3pm. Meaning that, even if I did have a car, I still wouldn't make it to work. Now I am basing this schedule off of another student on allnurses who posted their schedule from this school on here, I don't know if they offer an earlier lab option for that particular day(?).

However, assuming the worst case, I thought maybe I could ask my nurse supervisor if I could just have tuesdays as one of my regular days off every week since that is the only day that would interfere. And it will only be when class is in session. Sounds reasonable to ask, right? It's only one day. BUT, a co worker of mine asked him something similar a while back, but it wasn't for school, it was for babysitting issue, and he said it doesn't work like that you can't do that. I don't know if it will make any difference to him that I'm asking because of a) School and b) I'm trying to become a RN and he's a RN manager(???). 

If he still says no, I'm thinking what are my other options? Take the issue higher up the chain of command? I mean there was a guy in another dept who's supervisor let him work 3 days a week (2 doubles and 1 single) to accomodate RN school. What good is working for nursing support if you don't have the option of advancing into the role of a nurse? It's a big contradiction. We have a union but I'm not too sure how much help they will be from this standpoint other than offering to pay for your tuition.

Lastly, the LPN program is also in the day time, not too far from the above program. However, it's mon to fri from 8am-1pm. Public transit will bring me to work at 3:30pm (30 min late). You think this supervisor will let me come to work 30 min late to accomodate this? Or maybe I'm better off getting a car if I end up going this route since I will get to work before 3pm?

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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It’s not necessarily about not wanting to work with your schedule but having to actually staff the unit. By asking to have the same day off every week, you are essentially requesting to reduce your FTE, or the number of hours you work. FTEs are based on unit needs. By taking yourself out an entire shift per week, you’re affecting the ability to staff the unit appropriately. Some managers simply can’t afford to do that while others can. It’s also going to be affected by just how many different schedule requests have to be worked with. They employer isn’t there to make things easy for you; rather, the employer employs you to fulfill their needs  

My department used to try to work with everyone’s school schedules. With the large number of people in school, it simply became an absolute logistical nightmare. They stopped working with schedules and those in school were required to find a way to work things out. They switched shifts with others, sometimes a day for a night or a weekend for a weekday. 

Your options are to approach your manager and try to work something out, look for an alternative employer, look into a different program, be sure to schedule your classes in a way that doesn’t affect your work schedule, or use the strategies those I work with used with trading with others. 

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29 minutes ago, Rose_Queen said:

It’s not necessarily about not wanting to work with your schedule but having to actually staff the unit. By asking to have the same day off every week, you are essentially requesting to reduce your FTE, or the number of hours you work. FTEs are based on unit needs. By taking yourself out an entire shift per week, you’re affecting the ability to staff the unit appropriately. Some managers simply can’t afford to do that while others can. It’s also going to be affected by just how many different schedule requests have to be worked with. They employer isn’t there to make things easy for you; rather, the employer employs you to fulfill their needs  

My department used to try to work with everyone’s school schedules. With the large number of people in school, it simply became an absolute logistical nightmare. They stopped working with schedules and those in school were required to find a way to work things out. They switched shifts with others, sometimes a day for a night or a weekend for a weekday. 

Your options are to approach your manager and try to work something out, look for an alternative employer, look into a different program, be sure to schedule your classes in a way that doesn’t affect your work schedule, or use the strategies those I work with used with trading with others. 

Regarding FTE, the hours in my case wouldn't necessarily be reduced. See we work 5 days per week, we have 2 days off every week (including every other weekend) that works something like this:

Sat: On

Sun: On

Mon: On

Tue:  Off

Wed: On

Thu: On

Fri: On

Sat: Off

Sun: Off

 

So in my situation, tuesday would become "one" of my two days off every week class is in session. Basically, I may have to work 5-6 days straight in order for this work. So the number of shifts I'm doing doesn't decrease, but are simply moved around in the week. 

If we were to continue the above example with my class schedule request, the following week would look like this:

Mon: On

Tue: Off

Wed: On

Thu: On

Fri: On

Sat: On
Sun: On

 

I would end up working 5 days in a row from Wed-Sun. Normally, they have you work 3-4 days at a time.

Edited by jss1985

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First thing you need to do is actually find out what YOUR schedule will be, dont base things off of other AllNurses schedules. Things can and often do change. Second just ask. If it's a no, it's a no & you'll have to plan your course of action from there. Finally, you also need to make consideration and allowance for additional time you'll need off for clinicals, simulations & the other stuff they have you mandated to attend while in school.

I know you are trying to work it out, keep your job and that I understand. But you have to remember that while your employer may encourage you to continue your education, heck they may even pay for it, they aren't required to make allowances for an employee's school schedule. I'm sure you understand this, just a reminder only because you come off a bit like your employer needs to make accomadation for your education. You know they don't have to and they hired you to do a job in the time parameters they need, despite if that leaves you scrambling to figure out your educational schedule. Hopefully they can work with you, but if they can't,  you can start planning out alternatives now. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Edited by MiladyMalarkey

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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Everybody has a life outside of work and a preferred schedule. To you, school is important. That doesn't mean it's important to your employer ...or to your coworkers whose schedules would need to be changed to accommodate your needs.

All you can do is ask and seek alternate employment if they say no. I'm not sure what going up the chain of command would accomplish. You'd be asking to be "princess" and have everyone else work around you. Most of us are not quite important enough to pull that off.

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You might want to seriously consider part-time school if you are planning on working full-time AND commuting 2 hours to boot.

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

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On 9/13/2019 at 11:19 PM, jss1985 said:

I'm trying to see if I can get into either an ASN or LPN program here in NYC, for Spring. I am a patient care associate at a hospital and we are part of a union. Both of these ASN and LPN programs are two hours away from my home and job (Bronx to Long Island). I don't have a car, but I'm willing to deal with the public transit 2 hour commute because its worth it. That's not the issue. The issue is this...

My shift is 3pm-11pm. 

The ASN program is in the day time, 4 days a week. Only 1 of those days (Tuesday) conflicts with my job schedule because its Lab from 1pm-3pm. Meaning that, even if I did have a car, I still wouldn't make it to work. Now I am basing this schedule off of another student on allnurses who posted their schedule from this school on here, I don't know if they offer an earlier lab option for that particular day(?).

However, assuming the worst case, I thought maybe I could ask my nurse supervisor if I could just have tuesdays as one of my regular days off every week since that is the only day that would interfere. And it will only be when class is in session. Sounds reasonable to ask, right? It's only one day. BUT, a co worker of mine asked him something similar a while back, but it wasn't for school, it was for babysitting issue, and he said it doesn't work like that you can't do that. I don't know if it will make any difference to him that I'm asking because of a) School and b) I'm trying to become a RN and he's a RN manager(???). 

If he still says no, I'm thinking what are my other options? Take the issue higher up the chain of command? I mean there was a guy in another dept who's supervisor let him work 3 days a week (2 doubles and 1 single) to accomodate RN school. What good is working for nursing support if you don't have the option of advancing into the role of a nurse? It's a big contradiction. We have a union but I'm not too sure how much help they will be from this standpoint other than offering to pay for your tuition.

Lastly, the LPN program is also in the day time, not too far from the above program. However, it's mon to fri from 8am-1pm. Public transit will bring me to work at 3:30pm (30 min late). You think this supervisor will let me come to work 30 min late to accomodate this? Or maybe I'm better off getting a car if I end up going this route since I will get to work before 3pm?

You are unnecessarily stressing out over a bunch of what ifs.

Back up your thought process. First, find out if you even need a work schedule accomodation. Is there an earlier lab? 

If you do, ask your manager. Do not ask other people first! 

Don't even think about what ifs before you do these 2 things. If you are going to nursing school, you need to learn to conserve your mental energy.

Edited by FolksBtrippin

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ThatChickOmi has 0 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg.

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Have you considered going down to part time at work? That's what I had to do when I went to nursing school. Between clinicals, studying, studying, and more studying, and projects, it wouldn't have been possible for me to work FT hours at my job (I worked 5am-2pm Mon-Wednesday, and Fri-Sat) but school was Mon-Thurs mornings, so I winded up changing my schedule to Fri-Sunday only and school the rest. Yes, I literally had no days off most of the time. 

Hope everything works out for you. Have you considered maybe a school out in southwestern CT? There's Norwalk Community College, Gateway in West Haven but it's incredibly competitive to get in, but I think commute may be similiar, maybe even shorter.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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Everyone's biggest problem is their biggest problem.

Yours is a schedule that lets you both work full time and go to school.

Your manager's is having adequate staffing on a shift that is traditionally hard to cover.

Your coworkers will be whatever crisis or special circumstance is going on in their own lives, which may or may not also be something they want/need special consideration for with work schedules.

Your problems are yours and do not/will not trump anyone else's except to you.

Escalating "up the chain of command" is going to do nothing but make you look bad and force the powers that be to look you in the eye and flat out tell you your priorities are not their priorities. It for sure will sour your relationship with your manager. The assumption that this is a good thing for you and also medically oriented so therefore is a good thing for your employer is faulty logic.

Talk to your manager. Evaluate where there will be flexibility. Accept you may need to find a different schooling situation or a different job.

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bugya90 has 8 years experience as a ASN, BSN, LVN, RN and specializes in Ambulatory Care-Family Medicine.

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Speaking from manager experience, no your manager does not have to work around your school schedule just because Suzie from the next unit did so for her employee. Every unit and every manager is different. The best thing to do is find out what your actual school schedule will be (don't base it off someone else's, get your schedule from your advisor) and then go talk with your manager. The worst thing she can do is say no in which case you can start job hunting or start asking your co-workers if they would be willing to trade shifts with you.

Scheduling and staffing was one of the hardest parts of that job. No one fully understands the headache that a manager goes through until you get handle it first hand.

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FullGlass has 1 years experience as a BSN, MSN, NP and specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

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It appears you are assuming your manager will say no, but you haven't even asked yet.  Just because she said no to someone with a babysitting issue doesn't mean she will say no to you.  You are planning to go to school to become an RN, and most healthcare organizations are very supportive of that.  As another poster suggested, get your schedule and present it to your supervisor.  If she says no, ask why and then ask if you can work with her/him to make it possible for you to earn your RN and what they suggest you do.  Good luck

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On 9/16/2019 at 8:53 PM, Rionoir said:

You might want to seriously consider part-time school if you are planning on working full-time AND commuting 2 hours to boot.

Part time nursing school exists? It sure isn't here in NYC. Believe me i would have jumped on that bandwagon a long time ago.

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