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Forced to Return to the Floor

Posted

I've been working in a hospital and have been a nurse for a few years now. I worked in a Medsurg floor for about a year before I left and did something else. I eventually ended up as a nurse analyst and have been enjoying it so far for the most part.

Very recently there's been a surge in Covid cases in my area, and my hospital is planning to deploy all nurses who are not currently on the floor to the floor to help out until we flatten the curve again. I left the floor because I didn't like it, it gave me anxiety and depression (I was even having suicidal ideation at one point), and I honestly believe nursing is just not for me. I ended up as an analyst because I enjoy working with computers and software, not with patients and doctors.

Right now I'm very anxious to be forced to return. I've been out of practice for almost 3 years. I fear working on the floor for only 1 year wasn't enough to develop the level of knowledge and critical thinking skills that I would like to be in, so I'm not very confident with either of those right now. It also doesn't help that I suffer from low confidence and self-esteem. It was suggested for me to reorient, but I just can't shake this anxiety/nervousness away, and I feel my depression returning. People I've talked to keep telling me I'll be fine, but I have a hard time believing it. It's way worse now than when I first started working there, and I'm really dreading going back. Anyone have any advice?

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Can you actually be “forced”, or just lose your job if you refuse? If it’s the latter, then you’re still in control, although neither option may be an appealing one.

7 minutes ago, Sour Lemon said:

Can you actually be “forced”, or just lose your job if you refuse? If it’s the latter, then you’re still in control, although neither option may be an appealing one.

Hi, Lemon. Thanks for the reply! I'd probably lose my job if I refuse. Even worse, since we're in a state of emergency during a pandemic, it's likely I'd get reported to the Board as well.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

You may,or may not ,be able to handle floor nursing this time around. Consider maximizing your orientation, while you are searching for another analyst position.

Good luck.

17 minutes ago, Been there,done that said:

You may,or may not ,be able to handle floor nursing this time around. Consider maximizing your orientation, while you are searching for another analyst position.

Good luck.

Yes, I'll try to take advantage of the reorientation. Thank you!

Too bad they didn't use their 6-month lead time to help people get better prepared.

But when nurses balk they are routinely chastised and shamed as if it's only our (ethical or unethical) decisions and choices that will make or break things.

Tsk tsk.

Well, OP, take the orientation and then just do your very best. It'll be okay.

Edited by JKL33

I don't understand how your organization are forcing you to do this. My organization sent out mass emails to every RN who does not work on the floor or to RNs who worked at outpatient clinics that had temporarily closed asking if they would like to fill needed shifts on the floor to compensate for surge overflow. They also asked OR RNs if they would like to be cross trained in the ICU while elective surgical cases were put on hold so they could retain some form of income until surgical cases got back on track. If you never signed any employee expectations guidelines saying you agree to float to other areas when needed than I can't see how they can force you. If you think they would terminate you for refusal, I would either seek council for legal advice or I would simply apply for a temporary leave of absence and return later down the road.

13 minutes ago, TT IS said:

I don't understand how your organization are forcing you to do this. My organization sent out mass emails to every RN who does not work on the floor or to RNs who worked at outpatient clinics that had temporarily closed asking if they would like to fill needed shifts on the floor to compensate for surge overflow. They also asked OR RNs if they would like to be cross trained in the ICU while elective surgical cases were put on hold so they could retain some form of income until surgical cases got back on track. If you never signed any employee expectations guidelines saying you agree to float to other areas when needed than I can't see how they can force you. If you think they would terminate you for refusal, I would either seek council for legal advice or I would simply apply for a temporary leave of absence and return later down the road.

Oh but they can and they do. I bet if you look at your job description there will be a line that states “and other duties as assigned”. There you have it and there is no getting around it. All of our ambulatory nurses were cross-trained to inpatient.

AceOfHearts<3

Specializes in Critical care.

10 minutes ago, TT IS said:

If you never signed any employee expectations guidelines saying you agree to float to other areas when needed than I can't see how they can force you. If you think they would terminate you for refusal, I would either seek council for legal advice or I would simply apply for a temporary leave of absence and return later down the road.

Most places have a general phrase in job applications and contracts about “needs of the organization”. While I agree that the idea that a nurse is a nurse is a nurse (meaning a nurse should be able to work anywhere there are nurses) is flawed, the powers that be don’t.

I also appreciate the fact that getting reassigned isn’t nice, but as an ICU nurse in a unit that was quite frankly overwhelmed it was a necessity. My unit paired up former critical care nurses with current ICU nurses to help us. All of the nurses had a couple shifts to orient and cross-train before they really hit the ground running and also received education on our charting in the ICU. If a nurse was comfortable enough and we needed them to, sometimes they took over full assignments. I was paired with a nurse one time that was comfortable taking one of our 2 patients, which let me focus on the more critical of the two- if it had been just me my day would have been impossible and total hell. Another time another ICU nurse and her helper pretty much took over care of my other easy patient when I got a super critical rapid response that had multiple scans, bedside procedures, mass transfusions, etc.

OP- I am sympathetic to your situation, but I also am sympathetic to the floor nurses that need help. I would bring up concerns with the mangers- take as much orientation as you can. Is it possible you could be a float nurse to assist? You could help with turns, give meds as needed, etc. but not be responsible for your own assignment. If worse comes to worse you could also talk with your provider about whether you qualify for a temporary leave of absence with FMLA.

good luck! Let us know how it goes!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

7 hours ago, harumi22 said:

Hi, Lemon. Thanks for the reply! I'd probably lose my job if I refuse. Even worse, since we're in a state of emergency during a pandemic, it's likely I'd get reported to the Board as well.

That sounds like crazy talk. People are allowed to quit their jobs, even during a pandemic.

Getting fired, I can totally see happening, unfortunately.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

I hope it's not legal to report someone to the board for saying they don't feel comfortable working in a certain department! I could see the hospital laying you off permanently or temporarily, but I hope not =( I like the suggestion above, it's a lot of responsibility to have a full assignment and be in charge of everything for each pt, but on the floor every little thing helps, so someone who could help with turning, cleaning, transport, ALDs, PO meds, etc would be SO helpful! I bet that wouldn't be as stressful for you, and the nurses would love you! Is it possible to ask administration about that possibility?

7 hours ago, harumi22 said:

Yes, I'll try to take advantage of the reorientation. Thank you!

Agree that you should try to comply by starting the orientation. Then, should things not work out and you are forced to resign for health reasons, you will have a better chance to save your professional reputation. They will have a harder time taking adverse actions if you made a good faith effort.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

Are nurse administrators leaving their offices and picking up shifts as well?

2 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

Oh but they can and they do. I bet if you look at your job description there will be a line that states “and other duties as assigned”. There you have it and there is no getting around it. All of our ambulatory nurses were cross-trained to inpatient.

Well, employee expectations vary from institution to institution. None of our RNs who worked ay outpatient clincs in which their facility was temporarily closed due to covid were forced to work inpatient, they were put on temporary leave until their clinics re-opebed (which they still aren't). All those outpatient RNs were put on leave without pay but they could use their PTO bank if they wanted. Our organization only asked those RNs if they would like to go to inpatient temporarily to help with surge capacity, none of those RNs were forced or told they had to.

Doesn’t change the fact that if the job description includes (and most of them do) “and other duties as assigned” the hospital absolutely can make temporarily working inpatient a condition of your employment. Also, your ambulatory nurses were completely screwed.

Edited by Wuzzie

25 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

Doesn’t change the fact that if the job description includes (and most of them do) “and other duties as assigned” the hospital absolutely can make temporarily working inpatient a condition of your employment. Also, your ambulatory nurses were completely screwed.

That they are, they're going on 4.5 months without pay but a lot offered to pick up shifts at our covid test sites or pick up shifts for facility entrance screening.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

1 hour ago, caliotter3 said:

Agree that you should try to comply by starting the orientation. Then, should things not work out and you are forced to resign for health reasons, you will have a better chance to save your professional reputation. They will have a harder time taking adverse actions if you made a good faith effort.

This is very true. Give it a try. They can't blame you if at least you tried!

SarHat17, ADN

Specializes in CVRU, Intermediate. Has 9 years experience.

14 hours ago, harumi22 said:

Hi, Lemon. Thanks for the reply! I'd probably lose my job if I refuse. Even worse, since we're in a state of emergency during a pandemic, it's likely I'd get reported to the Board as well.

I would check further into this. (Reporting to the Board, I mean; this isn't the same as refusing a patient assignment or abandoning your patients.) Due to the pandemic, my health system has re-organized, furloughed, and eliminated positions. From what I've heard, the people affected by the re-organization and elimination of their position are offered the "new" position (I.e. no more CNAs in ICU; they were re-assigned to other units), but if it doesn't work for them, (childcare, etc), they unfortunately are searching for new jobs. I'm not sure of the specifics, like if they are fired vs downsized vs resigned, etc, but I don't think your health system can FORCE you to return to bedside nursing.

There may not be an opportunity for something else for you to do, which leaves you in the position of taking the bedside position or finding another position elsewhere.