Arriving early and not clocking in

Nurses General Nursing


On the unit at the hospital where I work, it is the culure of my unit to come to work 15-30 mins before your shift to begin your pt research and prepare for the start of your day. If nurses decide to do this, however, they are NOT allowed to clock in until the actual time they are scheduled for bc otherwise, the hospital would have to pay overtime. So we have nurses working before their shifts, and then someone comes around and reminds people to go clock in when it's actually time. Some nurses feel strongly that everyone should be doing this, and then there are others that show up about 5 mins before their shift.

Is this the culture or expectation in any other facilities?

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

Yeah, several nurses do this where I work, too. We're not allowed to clock in until 7 minutes before the start of the shift.

I do it because I like to have my brain all written out BEFORE I get report, and it takes me more than 7 minutes to write it all out, look at the pt's MAR, etc.

I don't have a problem doing an extra 5 minutes of work-related stuff off the clock. It's worth it to me to feel organized and ready to go.

I will do personal stuff on work time, too (like balancing a checkbook on down time, or checking my email, or calling my husband to say goodnight), so it all evens out.

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

If it was I would not participate. If my employer would like to pay me then I'd happily come in and sit around. I hate when nurses come in early. Inevitably they start asking questions, trying to switch assignments and generally just being a PITA sometimes when we really need to get our work done so we can give a timely report to them.

In my honest opinion if they need 30 minutes extra they either need help with their time management and/or sit around and gab too much.

It may be the culture to do this, but I would be shocked if HR actively approved of this practice. If a disgruntled employee ever complained about this to the Employment Security Commission and was able to present enough evidence to prove the complaint the hospital would be forced to pay back over-time wages.

Specializes in NeuroICU/SICU/MICU.

Some people on my unit do this, others do not. Everyone is pretty flexible with report, though, and it just takes a quick "Did you already look at the history and everything?" before starting so you know how in-depth to go with report. I'm on orientation now, so I arrive when my preceptor does, but I think when I'm on my own I will do my research after I get report.

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

As far as getting to work 30 minutes early goes...

Many people live across town, and take the interstate to work. Where I live, you never know how busy it's going to be. Sometimes it's totally clear and I get to work in 25 minutes. Other times there's a lot of traffic and it takes me 45 minutes. So I always assume the worst, leave my house at about 5 minutes after 6. Sometimes I get to work at 6:30, other times I don't get to work until just before 7 (which doesn't give me enough time to pee, put my stuff away, get some water, wash my hands, etc).

So yeah, sometimes I get there at 6:30. I don't understand why that would bother people. I'm not breathing down their backs or complaining about my assignment. Just like some people are habitually late, I'm habitually early. If I'm not at least 10 minutes early for an appointment, I get really stressed out. It's just a personality quirk, and I don't see why it should bother or affect anyone else.

Most people are GLAD when they see us show up a little early, because they know that they'll be able to actually get out on time.

I'm not doing patient care or taking report before punching in. I'm simply writing down my thoughts on paper.

1 Votes
Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

Legally, if you're working then your facility is obligated by law to pay you for your time. Thus I show up right before the start of my shift and don't look up anything until after I've clocked in. I don't work for free. A worker deserves his wages. This showing up 30 min early to do research isn't the expectation of every facility and the facilities in south fl that I've heard do this, pay those nurses for those 30 min. I don't mind showing up early as long as I'm paid to do so. And I must agree with one of the pp that if the nurses need to show up 30 min early to look up labs etc....then they seriously need to work on their time management skills. However, I end up showing up to work early sometimes..but I'm not taking report or looking up labs...I was just trying to beat traffic. But I have no problems with nurses showing up's their paycheck, not mine.

I used to come in about 20 minutes early to my shift and sit on the couch in the foyer relaxing. To my knowledge I was the only person who did this. I got a very good look at the CNA activity (or should I say, lack thereof) on the offgoing shift. They complained about this to their supervisors. I had never said anything. I told the nursing supervisor that all they had to do was find another place to sleep or sit around not doing their jobs. It was evident on the first walk through in the resident rooms what was not happening. One CNA would park an easy chair at an angle facing a TV, leave it that way with the TV on and the residents sleeping, and leave a pile of dirty linen on the floor to taunt the CNAs on the oncoming shift. Well, so what. I clocked in when I was supposed to, and still managed to relax after a long drive to work. Nobody was going to make me come in later or sit in my car because they thought they should be getting away with something that was obvious to all. In that place I guess it was the culture to fail to supervise the CNAs in doing their jobs.

If you have not clocked in yet and something happens that you get hurt, let's say, a patient in need of help right away and you are the only one in sight to help or you slip and fall, will you be able to get workmans comp or can your employer fight it by claiming that you were off the clock & it happened while you were not scheduled to work? Just wondering.

Oh the irony...the first in the line of ads at the bottom of this page says "Overtime Lawyer". LOL!!!

No one off the clock should intervene more than yelling for help. Otherwise, there will be no worker's comp for someone off the clock. That is preached everywhere.

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.
If you have not clocked in yet and something happens that you get hurt, let's say, a patient in need of help right away and you are the only one in sight to help or you slip and fall, will you be able to get workmans comp or can your employer fight it by claiming that you were off the clock & it happened while you were not scheduled to work? Just wondering.

When I'm not clocked in, I'm not in patient care areas. I'm at the nurses' station.

But for argument's sake, that can happen to ANYONE, unless they put a time clock out in the parking lot. Everyone who walks into the building, goes up the elevator, and walks into their unit is not yet clocked in, regardless if it's 1830 or 1855.

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