Long hours/no life

  1. I left bedside about 4 years ago because I was a single mother of a young child and I needed stable hours/mon-fri "daycare" hours. I got a work at home job with a large insurance company doing UR and liked it for a few years. . . however the last 6 months the work load has gotten larger and larger and LARGER. Not just for me - all of the UR nurses are feeling it as leadership piles more and more work on us (new projects, priorities, meetings, spreadsheets, tasks, documentation) PLUS we are on a hiring freeze and nurses keep quitting so our assignments grow and grow. As our assignments grow, so does the amount of work they expect us to do. Plus. . they have added mandatory weekends.

    So, my Mon-Fri 8-5 job has turned into a Mon-Fri with some weekends job that is typically 7-6 with no lunch and occasional late night after my son goes to bed or 5am scrambles to do reviews. It's not just me - it's all the nurses. In fact, I'd say I am one of the "faster" ones who actually work less. I have one coworkers who constantly works until 10 or 11pm.

    I talk to friends at other insurance companies and find that this has become more the case in the past year.

    Is this just the new insurance norm? My boss is someone who equates long hours with being a good and loyal employee - she jokes about seeing one of us on-line at 11pm.

    Also, because there are so few nurses currently, it is very hard to get PTO and if you do get PTO, you are expected to completely finish all your work before going on PTO and that can be very hard when you have 25 pended cases!

    There is a wee part of me who misses those 3 12 hour shifts. . .my son is older now and I now share custody which makes things easier. . .tell me I'm crazy to even think about returning to bedside. I am one of those nurses who actually loved bedside/hands-on but got burnt out by all the new "patient is client" attitude. My old hospital also went thru a big upheaval at the time that I left and let go tons of veteran nurses. It was becoming very toxic.

    Sorry for the long post. . .I just feel lost as a nurse these days. And now I am working more than ever and seem to be tired and stressed all the time. I guess I'm just looking for others who have experienced this. . or at least understand. I keep exploring options for my next nursing career transformation but am wondering if I am just chasing an empty dream.
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    About Camino77, ASN

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 11; Likes: 20


  3. by   SummerGarden
    I was one of those nurses who stated I was not ever going back to the bedside when I became a CM and I allowed every certification to expire. However, when I wanted a promotion, case management became a dead-end career/job. I was not able to move up due to lack of positions, the few openings being very competitive, and lack of leadership experience on my part at the time. So, I went back to the bedside.

    I received an entry-level (ANM) position in Telemetry (front-line managers where I worked can be pulled into assignments and can often cover breaks due to being short staffed), so I cannot write that you are crazy returning to bedside nursing for the reasons you wrote. On the other hand, I kept my CM position per diem for many years because I wanted the option to jump-ship if the reasons I left bedside nursing the first time came up again.

    I finally gave up my CM position recently. Although the reasons I left the bedside have come up again in spades because I am an assistant nurse manager, I have grown to prefer the negatives/cons of bedside nursing to those of case management. In addition to what you have written and I have experienced, case managers can work long hours and put in a lot of work just like any other nurse, but not be viewed as hard workers by other departments, not be viewed as nurses (???), and not have opportunities to take off because no one can cover them. Not to mention some case management departments are not even run by nurses or are run by nurses with very little years of work experience in any area of nursing! But I digress.... to reiterate my above point, the pros to bedside nursing are overwhelmingly heavy on the side of having nursing career choices and seeing nursing career progression compared with opportunities of a nurse case manager. Good luck!
    Last edit by SummerGarden on Mar 15
  4. by   Been there,done that
    Read your contract. Work your 40 hours , or report this mess to your state labor board.
  5. by   NurseMegBSNRN
    You could always look at doing CM/UR for a different company? I work as a UR nurse for a smaller MCO and while the CMs and claims analyst people here are busy, we're fairly steady in what we do in UR. Probably what I do now is a lot like what you did starting with your current company. I would really suggest looking into a different company if you want to keep the M-F hours but there are maybe opportunities for you in some of the other nursing "auxiliary" fields like informatics or research. I think about going back to bedside but the consistency of my schedule now (830-5, no weekends or holidays, ever) is incredibly important to me. I hope you find what works for you!