Do your on-call nurses come in if short?

Specialties Geriatric


  • by Shell5
    Specializes in Med Surg/Tele/Ortho/Psych.

We have 3 nurses that go on-call on a rotating basis: 1 is the DON, 1 is the ADON and the other is the MDS Coordinator/LVN. When we are short, and I mean very short at times, only 1 comes in to help when she is on call .

Do your on-call nurses fill in when short? Aren't they supposed to? What is an on-call nurse for then?

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

I wish we had them, but they assume I will come in at a blink of an eye since I am part-time! Ummmm nooooooo...somedays I actually get things done at home and can't drop things to go in...and boy they hate that!!!!!

I have suggested a on-call nurse, but on-call gets paid for that time they wait to be called in so my facility says they won't do it because it is too expensive for a 'what if'. I see their point, but it is a shoot to their foot if no one can replace a nurse (I injured my back this weekend and had to go to the ER, yeah right, get a nurse to come in on the weekend? An on call would have been perfect! YOu need them if there is an emergency with a nurse like mine!).

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,090 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

We have about 8 nurses who do weekend on-call. We get paid $150 for the time if we don't go in. If we do go into work we get the $150 plus time and a half if we've already worked our 40.

If one nurse calls out, the weekend supervisor who works 7a to 7p is supposed to take the keys and do the pass. If a second nurse calls out, the on call nurse is supposed to come in and do the med pass. If more than 2 CNA's call out, the oncall nurse is supposed to go in and help the CNA's....and if we are swamped with admissions, the oncall nurse is supposed to go in and help with those. We also have to call the building twice a day to make sure everything is OKAY.


69 Posts

Specializes in Skilled nursing@ LTC.

Doesn't that mean when one nurse says to the supervisor "You better go on call the floor nurse and ask her to stay over!" :chuckle No, we don't have on calls, usually the nurse on the floor gets the 'Please please can you stay a little longer?' line from staffing.


153 Posts

Gosh I wish we had someone to come in! I spend a good portion of my time on the phone begging when someone calls off. If it gets to the point where I can find no one (which is usually the case) Me or whoever is on the unit with the call in is "stuck". I have made the decision that if I get "stuck" I make a call to the DON and tell her the situation and that she will have to replace my next shift unless she would like to come in to releive me herself. I always get my next shift off. At times the facility has offered a bonus of some sort like five more dollers on the hour, which seems to help a little to get people to come in for a few hours. Luckily we have a group of professional nurses that tend to always come to work unless it is some type of emergency. Our CNA's on the other hand need a lesson in that department. Replacing CNA's is almost a joke. I work second shift, and it seems the fact that third shift does not have to call in and talk to management to actully call in, increases their call ins. We did try for awhile to have everyone call the management person taking call ins for the day at home to call in, it helped a great deal, but the management slowly began to complain about the middle of the night phone calls they were getting. So in other words no, our Don, MDs nurses do not feel like they need to work the floor. Heck you can't even get them to during the day when they are there unless it is really really really bad. Then we hear about it all week that "So and so called in and I had to work the floor!" :chuckle


73 Posts

In my facilty we have "On call" lets say this weekend I am on call,I get 4 hours of pay for nothing even if I don't get called,but if I do I get paid my regular pay though by the weekend I would be well into overtime.....I share on call weekends with 5 other nurses and instead of taking the money on my paycheck I "bank" it and then use it like an extra week of vacation.

Works out great and in the last year I have had only to come and work the floor twice.....I do get calls from nursing staff about what to do about this or that....and as a RN here you also pronounce death that too but over all it works out good.

My facility has a very tight policy you MUST replace yourself and if you do call in you better have a list of those you tried to call... this applies to all staff.

Oh and I am a charge nurse/Resident care coordinator

(yep a MDS Nurse) and I have worked the floor actually I still work the floor atleast once or twice a month....keeps me in the loop of what is going on.

judy ann

225 Posts

Specializes in obstetrics(high risk antepartum, L/D,etc.

Sounds like you work LTC. In my experience, the on call you describe is really administrative on call. These people are the ones to call for major happenings. They are not on call to give resident care. Some times, they will come in if they can't solve a problem from home (or where ever they are) but they are the ones to call if you can't find staffing coverage. They sometimes can be very convincing, and they sometimes can make promises to someone who will come in---bonus, extra day off later in the week, etc. Hope this helps. :)


73 Posts

2 are administrative the rest are "floor nurses".....and the 2 administrative do come in and work the floor and give resident care.We actually have a few new nurses who want to take on call.....yet we have a policy that you have to be employeed for a year before taking on call.

I think the big thing that makes most nurses here want to take a rotation every 5 or 6 weeks is the ability to "bank" the hours.....earlier this year one went on a 2 week cruise with those banked hours and never touched her vacation time.....I am going to Italy on mine.One is adding it to her vacation and taking 3 weeks off....Just to do nothing......I have used my banked time to take a day here or there off.....we also have a very professional staff that just doesnt call in for anything less than a major crisis or I said I only have came in 2 times in the last year and I had 17 weekends of being on call.

Yes I work in LTC

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,090 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

Am I understanding are on call, and don't get paid for it, but you can bank those 4 hours to add to your vacation time?


73 Posts

Well not exactly....I get 4 hours of pay....I can take the pay on that check or I can save it and collect it up to 80 hours and add when I want....we also get "well pay" like this; if your scheduled a full time position and don't call in,don't make schedule chages except for prior requested days off then each month you also collect 4 hours...another thing that keeps absentism at a minimal where I work.

Sometimes I have saved it and used some for christmas $$$,or property taxes.....I think it as money in the bank.


356 Posts

Five of us rotate call weekly. We get $150 just for carrying the phone. In an emergency we are expected to come in and work the floor. It doesn't happen too often and I don't mind. Those of us who are salaried get comp time off. The hourly nurse gets her hourly pay. As for those who complain that "they" don't ever work the floor (referring to management) I would like to say that floor staff aren't working in my office either!:uhoh3:

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,090 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

AMEN to that donmomofnine! Yesterday one of the nurses asked the supervisor to ask me(ADNS) to do a discharge for her because she was too busy...hello...I was already doing HER job by updating all her care plans and CNA care plans and following through with the docs she should have been calling. She gave me attitude for the rest of the day. If she were doing HER job, I would have had the time to do mine....when the corporate big wigs come into the building...or with a conference call...if my work isn't get the picture. I will always help anyone in the building, but I don't like doing their job while they fart around.

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