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As a Nurse, is it normal to be pushed around doing different jobs at the place you work?

Specializes in ACE.

So I am working at a Retirement Home and its going well, I love being the Nurse on the floor, but sometimes they will pull me and say I am gonna be a screener today to screen essential visitors, or one day I will be the Wound Care Nurse, or I will be helping out the Director of Care with their duties, or one time they were so desperate I was folding laundry cause they could not find anyone for the laundry staff. One time I was also a porter, porting Residents to different rooms in the building for infection control.

I don't want to sound mean and say no, but I feel like I lose my dignity as a Nurse. I don't wanna tell people that I screen or that I porter people, I want to just do Nursing related stuff.

I do get paid for all that stuff, but to me I feel like its a waste of my clinical skills. I can't just leave and find work since we are restricted to only 1 workplace at this time, and if I leave this job, its not guaranteed I will find work elsewhere.

I am full time there, but they did say that I will be working different jobs. Not sure if its just me complaining

It's called "other duties as assigned". Most nursing job descriptions have it.

1 hour ago, DribbleKing97 said:

[...]

I don't want to sound mean and say no, but I feel like I lose my dignity as a Nurse. I don't wanna tell people that I screen or that I porter people, I want to just do Nursing related stuff.

[...]

What of these duties, with the exception of working in the laundry, are not included within the scope of nursing practice?  

1 hour ago, DribbleKing97 said:

[...]

I am full time there, but they did say that I will be working different jobs. Not sure if its just me complaining

You should consider yourself fortunate, nurses being furloughed or called off for low census is becoming a common occurrence.

Best wishes.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

Frankly, I would consider it a dream job.  Lots of variety so you gain a lot of insight into the workings of the whole retirement home, instead of the tunnel vision we get from just doing our own jobs.

I'm not sure what you're calling "clinical skills" that you're so afraid of losing.  Wound care is certainly a valuable skill; assisting the Director of Care should be providing additional skills.  Screening visitors provides an opportunity to improve interpersonal skills and provide education to the community, something all nurses are expected to do.  Being a porter involves positioning patients for safety and comfort, and of course you're never not assessing.

If they're willing to pay you nursing wages to fold laundry, then that's almost like a paid day off.  Take advantage of the brain breather.

None of these things strikes me as anything that's "beneath the dignity of a nurse".  (That would be more along the line of having to stand when a doctor enters the room.)

If you embrace all this with a willing spirit, no telling how far you can go.  Doing things grudgingly will show on your face and in your body language and might hamper you in ways you don't expect.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse.

As long as you're doing these things as the work on your shift instead of in addition to the work on your shift, chill out and enjoy the "break".

It's also a good chance to liaise with folks working different jobs in the facility and build rapport with them. That will pay off down the road.

 

Do it without complaining and give it your best effort of course.  Collect your paycheck and go home. Enjoy it while it lasts, and...
 

while also keeping your eyes open for other opportunities. Maybe they’re just dumb but an RN folding laundry, screening visitors and transporting patients strikes me as a situation with even less job security than usual. 
 

There are benefits but also possible detriment. Nursing skills? I would say being able to build and maintain skills in properly assessing patients, knowing the  ever-changing nursing-specific facility policies, and being able to work the cart without having everyone complain and gossip about what a catastrophe it is every time you “get” to do actual nursing work is no small matter. Not being able to do one thing with enough regularity to come up to advanced/expert level is not in a nurse’s best interest. 

Everybody “loves” somebody who will do anything and always eases the burden du jour. But about the time it takes you twice as long as someone else to do a med pass on the cart you will learn how fickle that appreciation is. 
 

Short-term this is fine. Long-term heck no. But I suspect it won’t be long term one way or another because no one would pay an RN to do these extra duties for very long. This actually kind of sounds like a temporary position. 

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

If patients need it ... then it is not beneath "the dignity" of a nurse to provide it. 

Nurses do those things that patients would do for themselves if only they could do it for themselves.   And that includes wiping their private parts -- and bathing --  and screening people for illness -- and transporting themselves -- and preparing meals -- and feeding themselves -- and folding laundry. 

Maybe you need to review the role of the nurse in society and the types of work that nurses have traditionally done.   The one characteristic that sets nursing apart from all other roles in society is that we are the one discipline that commits to helping the patient with ALL of his/her needs -- not just the ones that we consider "glamorous."

Maybe there are other jobs that you will enjoy more than the one you currently have -- and that is OK.   But taking care of the patients needs should never be considered beneath a nurse's dignity as a nurse (what that means.)

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology.

There is nothing undignified about any of these jobs. I think doing them will be a good learning experience for you. It takes many people in many roles to run an good Retirement Home. Every role is important. 

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

4 hours ago, TriciaJ said:

If they're willing to pay you nursing wages to fold laundry, then that's almost like a paid day off.  Take advantage of the brain breather.

OMG! THIS!^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^!!!

Edited by BSNbeDONE

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

Doing all those jobs would make you a shoo in for night supervisor, if that job comes up. You'll know all the players and policies.

It's normal to have "additional duties as assigned" but no, this isn't normal, at least not in hospitals.  To me this shows disorganization and an inability to keep workers.  It might be a nice break once in awhile but it sounds like it happens more than that.  I'd be looking for a new job.

Edited by Elaine M

This might make people upset...but...

If I spent 4+ years of hard work getting my BSN, I am NOT going to fold laundry. I am there to provide expert nursing care and to clinically take care of my patients.

If you continue to be the “yes-man” you are going to be walked all over. 

Sorry not sorry. 

30 minutes ago, sam619 said:

This might make people upset...but...

If I spent 4+ years of hard work getting my BSN, I am NOT going to fold laundry. I am there to provide expert nursing care and to clinically take care of my patients.

If you continue to be the “yes-man” you are going to be walked all over. 

Sorry not sorry. 

*rolleyes*

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op.

Folding laundry is the only non nursing thing they have asked of you. Was even all day? More than once? Is it that big of a deal! Otherwise everything is acceptable. 
 

Being adaptable and a team player is only going to do good thing for your career. 

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I'll go against the grain and say that those tasks can be done by anyone and shouldn't be done by a professional nurse even if they aren't demeaning.  

That said, these are special times and we might have to step out of our role to fill what is now essential duties such as temperature checks. 

When our OR shut down some of the nurses opted to deliver PPE supplies and manage that, check all the supply rooms for expired items, and other tasks that could have been done by anyone.  It was either that or take PTO hours.

They and you have set the precedent so you might just have to roll with it for now, but it certainly isn't something I would do in the long haul.  

Edited by Tweety

18 hours ago, chare said:

What of these duties, with the exception of working in the laundry, are not included within the scope of nursing practice?  

You should consider yourself fortunate, nurses being furloughed or called off for low census is becoming a common occurrence.

Best wishes.

Better to be folding laundry and being paid the salary of an RN, than to be sitting at home lamenting the fact that no employment at all awaits you for yet another week.

3 hours ago, caliotter3 said:

Better to be folding laundry and being paid the salary of an RN, than to be sitting at home lamenting the fact that no employment at all awaits you for yet another week.

No doubt. During my short tenure in a SNF we would occasionally have to redeployed to do CNA work for a shift if the unit as short. What a delight to be able to hands on care and be paid (no offense to any hard working CNAs reading this) an RNs wage-and it was usually time and a half.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

16 hours ago, Dln14 said:

This might make people upset...but...

If I spent 4+ years of hard work getting my BSN, I am NOT going to fold laundry. I am there to provide expert nursing care and to clinically take care of my patients.

If you continue to be the “yes-man” you are going to be walked all over. 

Sorry not sorry. 

If they're willing to pay you to fold laundry, they must not have any "BSN" work to do that day.  Many, many nurses are being furloughed and laid off due to low census and not enough work.

It seems to me that the employer is trying to keep everyone employed to the best of their ability.  I doubt this is a permanent thing; no one can afford to pay a nurse to fold laundry for long.

If you want to quit a job that isn't respecting your "dignity", that's anyone's prerogative.  I've worked enough crazy, stressed-out shifts in my time that a paid day folding laundry would have been like a day at the beach.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

After the day I had today, giving blood, FFP, pt vomiting blood EVERYWHERE, heparin drip, 2 pts with PEs, chest pain, high trops, labs every 2 hrs on all pts, covid everywhere, alcohol withdrawal covid patient off the hook in 4 pt velcro... SO overwhelming.

It's great to learn nursing skills, but to be honest the days I get to be a screener feel like an amazing break from the stress, and if I could fold laundry in a room away from patients for a shift I think I would cry tears of joy. Of course I still want to do nursing duties, but a break from them once in a while is welcomed! I would say, appreciate the breaks and you will have plenty of time in your career to learn nursing tasks, but if the job is consistently non-nursing tasks look for a new one! As said above all of us who have jobs are lucky right now, even if they are underwhelming or overwhelming =( 

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

On 7/9/2020 at 1:27 PM, DribbleKing97 said:

So I am working at a Retirement Home and its going well, I love being the Nurse on the floor, but sometimes they will pull me and say I am gonna be a screener today to screen essential visitors, or one day I will be the Wound Care Nurse, or I will be helping out the Director of Care with their duties, or one time they were so desperate I was folding laundry cause they could not find anyone for the laundry staff. One time I was also a porter, porting Residents to different rooms in the building for infection control.

I don't want to sound mean and say no, but I feel like I lose my dignity as a Nurse. I don't wanna tell people that I screen or that I porter people, I want to just do Nursing related stuff.

I do get paid for all that stuff, but to me I feel like its a waste of my clinical skills. I can't just leave and find work since we are restricted to only 1 workplace at this time, and if I leave this job, its not guaranteed I will find work elsewhere.

I am full time there, but they did say that I will be working different jobs. Not sure if its just me complaining

If they have you folding laundry for many shifts in a row it would be concerning, but honestly I think helping the Director of Care with their duties is an opportunity that couldn't be replaced by doing a particular clinical procedure one more time that day.

However, I'd also say the attitude they display when assigning non-floor tasks is an important part of it.  We can usually tell when we're being used & undervalued vs trusted to fill a variety of roles as it becomes a pattern over time.  It doesn't sound like that's happened yet.

There are many things that seem menial on the surface but can actually teach you more than practicing clinical skills.  

Hope it all works out.  Just enjoying your job at a retirement home is huge!

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