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Are boundaries ok?

Nurses   (919 Views | 15 Replies)

1,225 Profile Views; 37 Posts

I live an hour away from my job and work 12 hour shifts. That means my work days are already 14 hours. I was asked to come in 2 hours early for a coworker. That would have made my workday 16 hours, which I know is more than I can handle. I told my manager I would not be able to come in. Coworkers are also always asking me to cover their shifts, but I say no because I am already scheduled to work a ton as it is I am a new graduate still adjusting to being a nurse. Is it ok to have these boundaries?

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 2,870 Posts; 66,161 Profile Views

Yes.

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beachbabe86 specializes in Oceanfront Living.

48 Posts; 182 Profile Views

Absolutely!!

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

857 Posts; 16,208 Profile Views

Boundaries are the best! Don't feel obligated to pick up extra time unless you want to.

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

199 Posts; 825 Profile Views

You don't owe anybody anything except to work your schedule.  

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

1,483 Posts; 14,075 Profile Views

Sometimes it's a good idea to cover an occasional shift - you never know when you'll be in the same boat asking! (But don't overdo it.)

Edited by Jedrnurse

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RNNPICU has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU.

1,059 Posts; 12,346 Profile Views

I think it is okay to say no if it is happening all the time. However, every once in a while, a co-worker may have a real reason or emergent reason to need to leave.  I once had a co-worker who asked me to come in 2 hours early because there was a last minute change in a child-care snaffu. Since I was going to be getting her assignment, it didn't matter.  It was something that happened maybe twice a year.  I said yeas, because I knew my co-worker needed a helping hand and was not a staffing or anything issue.. If she had repeatedly done it, I think it would have been a bigger issue. 

Thankfully, I never needed to ask anyone for this favor as I know it was really hard for her to ask. 

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

6 Followers; 13,247 Posts; 59,399 Profile Views

You should set boundaries.   They are a good thing.   However, your boundaries should be reasonable and words like "always" and "never" are generally not a good idea in relation to work.

My recommendation is to talk with your managers about your long commute and the difficulties you have with working extra-long shifts.   Maybe tell her that adding on a couple of hours to a shift is not something you feel you can safely.   Emphasize your concern for your patient's safety as well as your own.

However, be willing to demonstrate that you are a "team player" and willing to help your colleagues out by offering to switch shifts occasionally.   For example, if extra help is needed on a Friday ... perhaps you could offer to switch your scheduled shift from Thursday to Friday.   Or perhaps, every once in a while (not regularly), you would be willing to be scheduled for an extra shift or part of shift.   You might work half the extra shift -- and someone else work the other half of the shift.   By volunteering for something like that occasionally, you "do your fair share" to help out during periods of short-staffing or times of high need.

If you volunteer too much of your time, you can get burned out.  So don't feel the need to do it very often.   But to never help out, makes you look selfish.  Find a balance that will work for you.

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

1 Follower; 1,680 Posts; 22,364 Profile Views

@llg brings up great points.

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1 Follower; 1,763 Posts; 13,998 Profile Views

Boundaries are absolutely necessary.  If working 16 hours with a 2 hour commute is too much for you then don’t do it.  Don’t make other people’s problems your problems.  They are coworkers not friends and family.  A friend would never asked you to wind up working and commuting 18 hours.  Just say no

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54 Posts; 688 Profile Views

Yes, absolutely set boundaries. It makes me sad that we as a profession have to ask this question. 

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,108 Posts; 48,249 Profile Views

Don't even question yourself on this. Even if you lived right next door to the hospital it would be perfectly acceptable to say no.

Think of it this way - time is a finite resource, almost like a form of currency. They are asking you to have less of it (time) so that they are able to have more. The justification doesn't matter as much as whether your "time budget" can afford it and whether you feel inclined to give away that resource. In this case it is a no-brainer. You are already living on the bubble and don't have it to give. However, like other types of currency, even if you did have it to give, YOU get to choose where you spend it and you still won't ever have enough of it to meet the bottomless well of need. 

You are right to protect your resources and manage them carefully. Time is just one of those resources.

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