Covering 3-11 shift for a sick call.

Specialties Operating Room


  1. How does your OR cover sick calls for 3-11 or 11-7 shifts

    • Do you look for volunteers first?
    • 0
      If no one volunteers, do you mandate someone to cover
    • 0
      If you mandate, how do you make choices.
    • 0
      Can an RN cover a Surg Tech call out
    • 0
      Are you paid extra in time or $ if you volunteer?

5 members have participated

I work in a small OR in CT. We are short staffed at the moment. When one of the two person 3-11 shift calls out, someone on the day shift must cover 3-11 on a 1st call basis.

Our manager is having trouble finding volunteers & often works all or part of the call shift because no one steps up-esp. when it's obvious the shift will be busy.

I would like to know what other OR's do in this type of situation. So far our staff has the following ideas:

>We do have a second team on call - one suggestion is to require the person on 2nd call to move up to first call.

>Another is for "someone" to keep a list of staff who call out when they are on call. The person at the top of the list would be "mandated" to take the 1st call unless they could find someone to sub for them. They would then be off the list until they called out again.

Any other ideas would be welcomed(FYI Our call worked is paid at time & 1/2- On call time is pd min. wage per hr.

Specializes in Peri-Op.

First we take volunteers. They will get paid time and a half to work. Our call pay is $10/HR so people usually just pick it up.

Specializes in Peri-Op.

Also, our nurses typically scrub and can cover the shift either scrub or circ

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

I would think that asking for volunteers first then mandating may be the necessary procedure until staffing improves. This can be accomplished by establishing a sick call schedule and either A. empowering the staff to sign themselves up for call and requiring that all staff signs up for a certain number of shifts or B. management works them into a mandatory schedule. gaps in the schedule can be again filled on a voluntary basis or filled in by management on a rotational basis, so everyone has to take call should someone call out.

Some people will work themselves into the grave taking extra shifts, while others won't do anything to help. Putting down a few mandates may be necessary.

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

We used to cover with volunteers. If no one volunteered, it meant second shift was SOL. Now, we have a list (alphabetical order) who will be mandated as last resort after both call teams if needed and no volunteers. I have to say that I disagree with that, since it doesn't take into account people who didn't sign up for call voluntarily that day for a reason (no child care, doctor/dentist appointments, etc.). So what they (the powers that be) recommended for those people is that if they know their turn is coming up soon, then they should switch places with someone else. Makes no sense to me and I wonder if it's even legal. Usually we do manage to scrounge up volunteers, especially for night shift since those people are allowed to sleep on the job as long as the work is done and there's no cases running.

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

I don't know about the mandate thing. It almost seems like punishment for calling out, and we can't help it when we are sick. How does the rest of the staff feel about it?

Can your unit afford to hire PRN nurses? Another option may be to offer a "free day off", kind of like a comp day to whoever volunteers to cover the shift. But if your unit is THAT short staffed, it may not be a great option.

Does your NM have enough money in the budget to hire another FTE for 3-11?

Specializes in O.R., ED, M/S.

Number one is why is she asking for volunteers anyway? Most well run ORs have staff on call for those nights when you need more staff to do cases. Do you only have call after 2300? If I was her I would start having one or two people on mandated 3-11 call so this problem wouldn't occur.

Specializes in OR.

It sounds like they need to hire another person for 3-11.

My hospital runs into the same problems whenever someone on 11-7 calls in. Sometimes they'll actually make the effort to find someone to volunteer to work the shift, but most of the time, they just forget about it and make the first call person come in to work the shift. At my facility, it comes down to very poor management though. Just recently, we had a tech who was out for a while on FMLA, and they knew this at least a week before, but they did absolutely nothing to try to find someone to cover his shift while he was sick. The tech who was on first call that night had to come in and work his shift, even though she already worked all day long. They didn't even tell her until she got called out! They could have at least sent her home early so she could get some sleep and then have her come in when they needed her, but they don't care because it doesn't affect them. In an ideal world, there would be enough prn people that they could find someone to cover, but I guess that's tough when you have people running an OR that have no idea how to use critical thinking skills and plan ahead.

Specializes in Only the O.R. and proud of it!.

When someone calls off for one of the off shifts and staffing is needed, first volunteers are asked. If no volunteers, 1st call person must cover. If it is slow and they are not needed they can go to the sleeping room. If 1st call is used, by default 2nd person on call is the 1st one called in... We try our best to provide the next day off in this instance. At least allow the person to leave early. And if they were up all night working, we must let them off. It is a patient safety thing. However, we have 2 or 3 nurses on 3-11, so that is rarely an issue. But on busy Days, call may have to stay regardless to cover on call cases. 11-7 is the shift where there is only one nurse and one ST on staff.

Sent from my iPad (so excuse any typos and autocorrects!!) using

Specializes in Perioperative; Cardiovascular.

Usually the person that called in on their call day are mandated to fulfill the vacant call. It would discourage people from not being accountable for ther call and boost morale.

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