Do you ever pick up your phone on your day off when work calls you?

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published


I do get my days off but I feel the need to pick up my phone because I want to have peace of mind that they are not doing an investigation on me or something. Most of the time they call because they want to work, but one time a staff called me and asked me where I last put eye drops of a patient to which I said I do not know and then they found it under the med cart drawer.

The charge Nurse did tell me that she was once called because of an investigation for a pressure ulcer that was not reported earlier.

But I read my Union book and it says that work cannot call you on your day off or if you are not present at work. If they want to do an investigation or ask you questions, they have to wait until you show up to work and such.


1,476 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

No I don’t pick up any work calls on my days off, regardless of what it might be about.

I also don’t work in such a toxic environment and/or have anxiety about investigations at work.


4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

If I've got nothing going on and I would be willing to pick up extra or go in early I'll pick up the phone. It's usually a last ditch effort that they actually call- I get about 46 automated text messages asking people to pick up shifts before that happens. 

I have only been called about another incident once, early in COVID when we were exposed to a positive patient that wasn't on precautions. Anything they need to tell me can wait until I'm there in person. 


6,760 Posts

Why answer the call?

They will either leave a message or they won't.


7,736 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Nobody will say "amo, it's critical that we're short staffed.  Can you come in? Call back".

But they will say "amo, we have a serious narc issue. Can you call us back ASAP"?

That's the difference bet staffing calls and others. They usually don't tip their hand announcing this was a staffing call. If it's another important reason, they'll impart the message to you. Like they'll try to catch you attn right away! 

TriciaJ, RN

4,328 Posts

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

If it's not important enough to leave a message, they have no business calling you on your day off.

Back when Flo and I were in the Crimea, there was no voicemail or caller I.D.  You actually had to answer the phone to know who it was and what they wanted.  No reason nowadays to let work annoy you at home.



7,736 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

TriciaJ - Bravo!

NightNerd, MSN, RN

1,130 Posts

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice.

@TriciaJ you crack me up!!

I do not pick up. I let it go to voicemail. If it's a staffing issue and I can't or don't want to pick up, I'll text my manager back and let her know. I rarely do want to pick up. ☺️

I've had two instances when it was something important and the manager asked me to call back as soon as possible. Both times, each manager was calling to tell me our unit was being closed permanently and that they'd work to help me find a place on another unit. I won't ever fall for that old trick again!


742 Posts

I work when I WANT to work, no exceptions. 

A few years back during one of those strikes my hospital was short, like VERY SHORT! They need charges and nurse managers like YESTERDAY. It was so bad that they had to ask some of the higher ups to come in. I know they had RN degrees and I assume Bachelor's and Master's.  Not ONE wanted to work.

The higher up as in the ones that show up in a suit/tie and/or heels on the unit in at 7am handing out Jolly Ranchers like a fox.

I'm most curious about why you think you'll be "investigated" on a semi-regular basis. If you are prone to getting investigated, are you willing to give up your days off to hear suspicions about your performance and get terminated? That should be a factor in whether you answer the phone.

As a side note, hourly employees are to be paid for all time worked. Accepting a work phone call during your free time is work. Start writing every call you answer into your unit's overtime/un-clocked time log to get paid for your work. It's not a unit decision whether or not hourly nurses should be paid for time working; it's the law.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.



742 Posts

On 7/21/2021 at 12:10 AM, DesiDani said:

Not ONE wanted to work.

Hindsight, I guess it was a good thing. I don't think that the RNs would of wanted an admin who hasn't worked as nurse for decades being their charge and giving out new admits to them. Worst promising a patient/family something that was impossible. 

So maybe it was okay if none showed up.

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