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Expecting soon- scheduling dilemma at work...


Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 10 years experience.

hi everyone!

i'm super excited to be expecting my first baby in early september. it was rather unexpected, but my husband and i are thrilled. it's coming at a good time because i'll have been employed for over a year before i take leave (fmla eligible) and i get maternity leave over the holidays.

here's the problem. i currently work what my facility calls a "flex" schedule. what that means is that i give them five days per week that i am available to come to work. they call me in on the days that they need me (they call at 5am the morning of the shift- so 2 hours notice to get to work). once i have worked three days in a week, i don't have to come in again, but i don't know in advance what days i will be working. furthermore, i am only guaranteed three shifts in a two week period, so half of what would be full time pay.

there is no consistency. one week i might work three days, the next i might not work at all. but i have to plan on working those 5 days because i might be called in. so i can only schedule appointments or make plans on the 2 days per week that i am not available.

obviously that presents a big problem when i have an infant who needs childcare. i can't very well say to a day care provider- "there are five days i may bring my child this week. but i'm only going to bring them a max of three days. i might not bring them at all. and i can't tell you if i will need you until 5am on the morning i'll be dropping her off."

for months now, my department head has been saying i will be able to move to a regular full time job. however, there are many reasons that i don't believe her. she has a history or lying to employees about available positions and refusing to grant requests in schedule changes. since i have been employed we have had two full time employees leave and one go from full time to per diem. i was told each time that they were not giving me a full time position, but were posting the job positions are more "flex" positions. this is problematic for two reasons. 1. i'm being denied full time hours. 2. if they hire more flex employees i will have to split my hours with them. so if the unit needs an extra nurse for two days one week, i'll only be working one day because i'll have to rotate with the other nurse.

so here's my question: they know that i am pregnant at work. i know i cannot continue working as a flex employee once i come back from maternity leave. when should i tell them that i will have to leave if i do not have a full time (or even part time- i just need a set schedule) position? i love my unit and i don't want to to have to leave, but i see no way around it. (i would transfer within the hospital system so benefits, and paid leave won't be an issue.)

thanks for the advice!

ckh23, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU. Has 6 years experience.

I would wait to tell them after the baby is born. Then you can tell them your needs and see if anything has become available. As much as you like your unit, it may be time to move on if you cannot get the hours you want/need. As far as the childcare, I live on the east coast and I know of a few "corporate" day cares that let you pay per day so you don't need to give them a set schedule, you pretty much drop of the child when you need to.

Congratulations and good luck.


Has 25ish years experience.

Congratulations Ashley !! That's very exciting.

I'm old school........surprise, surprise :)

Wait until you are well ensconed into your 2nd trimester before committing too much energy and thought to any specific plans.

My best to you.

Good Morning, Gil

Specializes in Rehab, critical care. Has 3 years experience.

Do what you feel comfortable with doing. That's unfortunate that they don't work with employees more on your unit; my guess is it's just a budget thing, cheaper to hire flex than full-time. My unit has very few prn employees, most are hired full-time or part-time, and the only PRN employees are those that choose to become so; I would think flex would still cost your employer more money, though it is convenient for them to just call you at their whim, not so much for you, though. I would make your wishes known now so that they can plan for the schedule, but I wouldn't say it as an ultimatum. "I can't work here if..." etc. Just say that you will need a consistent schedule to plan for childcare, and ask how you can make that work, being as flexible as you possibly can (but obviously that's tougher with an infant).

You want job security, so if they give you the run-around, address it on maternity leave (to ensure you still have your job and can transfer internally if necessary while on leave).

Best of luck to you!! Very exciting news! :)


Specializes in NICU.

Congratulations! A new baby is a wonderful thing.

If you work 12s and only need daycare 3 days a week, it is likely that you will have to pay for a "full time spot" at daycare anyway, as your provider is unlikely to find another family that exactly meshes with your off days. Therefore, your baby will "take up" a FT slot and you'll pay accordingly. For that amount of pay your provider should plan on your baby coming every day and just be thankful for the "surprise" days off

I would remind them that you need a full time position often, but I would not quit or transfer until after your maternity leave. When you are ready to come back, you need to either have a full time spot or tranfer at that point. That gives you a little time to look for something else or take a little time off. If you transfer you might find you enjoy something else, and if not you can always wait for a full time spot on your old unit. Or maybe just drop to a prn type schedule?