Jump to content

Frequently called off d/t low census/COVID - Help me self-advocate

Disasters   (431 Views | 6 Replies)
by Port88 Port88, ADN (New) New Nurse

62 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Hey fellow nurses,

I'm struggling with this industry right now. I live in Colorado in an area where we are currently not being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and our cases are dwindling. It doesn't seem like we're going to have an upswing in census anytime soon at my hospital.

I just spent two weeks out of work due to testing positive for COVID-19 after taking care of COVID patient's at my hospital. I had one day back, and the following two days IN A ROW I was put on call, but never called into work. This is a problem as I am the primary income in my household. I'm also fairly new the facility, and don't have PTO to spare.

I'd love to redeem this situation somehow. There are travel nurse gigs in response to areas hit hard by COVID-19, and I got the blessing from my husband do go work in those places if I wanted to. The problem is I've only been a nurse since August 2019, and will likely not get hired as a contract nurse with such little experience.

With the current census at my hospital, nurses are regularly getting called off, or put on call at least once a week. That's a HUGE cut in income.

I'm an essential worker who can't even work. But I am also a new nurse, so I feel kind of stuck with what I've got. How do I advocate for myself in this situation? I'm being thanked for my work, being told I'm a hero, being blessed with meals and acts of kindness. I'm so thankful and grateful for those things and the people who are doing them, but I feel wholly unsupported by those who employ me. I need to pay my bills and make a living. What do I do? What CAN I do?

Is anyone else finding themselves in this situation? What is your plan, and how are you moving forward? I'd love to brainstorm or hear what other people are doing. As a fresh nurse I still know little about the industry and what I can do to be my own advocate in such situations.

-Sarah

Edited by Port88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,447 Posts; 33,511 Profile Views

1 hour ago, Port88 said:

Hey fellow nurses,

I'm struggling with this industry right now. I live in Colorado in an area where we are currently not being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and our cases are dwindling. It doesn't seem like we're going to have an upswing in census anytime soon at my hospital.

I just spent two weeks out of work due to testing positive for COVID-19 after taking care of COVID patient's at my hospital. I had one day back, and the following two days IN A ROW I was put on call, but never called into work. This is a problem as I am the primary income in my household. I'm also fairly new the facility, and don't have PTO to spare.

I'd love to redeem this situation somehow. There are travel nurse gigs in response to areas hit hard by COVID-19, and I got the blessing from my husband do go work in those places if I wanted to. The problem is I've only been a nurse since August 2019, and will likely not get hired as a contract nurse with such little experience.

With the current census at my hospital, nurses are regularly getting called off, or put on call at least once a week. That's a HUGE cut in income.

I'm an essential worker who can't even work. But I am also a new nurse, so I feel kind of stuck with what I've got. How do I advocate for myself in this situation? I'm being thanked for my work, being told I'm a hero, being blessed with meals and acts of kindness. I'm so thankful and grateful for those things and the people who are doing them, but I feel wholly unsupported by those who employ me. I need to pay my bills and make a living. What do I do? What CAN I do?

Is anyone else finding themselves in this situation? What is your plan, and how are you moving forward? I'd love to brainstorm or hear what other people are doing. As a fresh nurse I still know little about the industry and what I can do to be my own advocate in such situations.

-Sarah

To put it bluntly, nobody cares that you need to pay your bills and make a living ...or that you don't have much PTO to spare. If there's no work, there's no work. The hospital is unlikely to view the situation in a charitable manner.

You can either apply in a high-demand area and hope they hire you, or you can wait it out. Unemployment might be an option, but I don't know much about the requirements for that. Hopefully someone who does will come along.

My hospital is practically empty, as well. Fortunately, I worked very little to start off with, but many of my coworkers are in your situation. I hope things get closer to normal very soon for everybody's sake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 Followers; 37,687 Posts; 103,261 Profile Views

You are experiencing some of what I have experienced over the years because I work in extended care home health. Job today, no job tomorrow. And as Sour Lemon says, the employer does not care. Answer for my situation: don’t work in extended care. Answer for anyone getting called off or furloughed or told there just is no work: find a different line of work. Look out for self. The employers and others, do not care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 Posts; 390 Profile Views

Hence with the reduced hours, would anyone be familiar if we are allowed to apply for an unemployment insurance depending upon the state. Anybody who has applied for it? thank you! Stay safe everyone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 Followers; 37,687 Posts; 103,261 Profile Views

Unemployment is available for reduced hours in my state. You apply and are given an award amount based on your "normal" income. Then you give your hours actually worked during each reporting period, and you receive the difference between what you earned and your weekly benefit. While it is worth the effort to get something, you won't be able to pay the rent with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RN-ing has 10 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Critical Care, corporate wellness/DM.

79 Posts; 5,146 Profile Views

I bet you could get more contract work than you think right now, even with minimal experience. My hospital has been using a lot of "cohort nurses" to supplement increased ICU nurse-patient ratios. I have 12 years of adult ICU experience, so I will be the primary nurse for four vented, COVID positive patients and one cohort nurse to help with turns, med passes, ect. I have worked with cohort nurses who are new grads and they were awesome.

I say start applying to contract services and I bet you land one...and start making some cash!

Good luck πŸ™‚

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 1,420 Posts; 19,725 Profile Views

8 hours ago, RN-ing said:

I bet you could get more contract work than you think right now, even with minimal experience. My hospital has been using a lot of "cohort nurses" to supplement increased ICU nurse-patient ratios. I have 12 years of adult ICU experience, so I will be the primary nurse for four vented, COVID positive patients and one cohort nurse to help with turns, med passes, ect. I have worked with cohort nurses who are new grads and they were awesome.

I say start applying to contract services and I bet you land one...and start making some cash!

Good luck πŸ™‚

I agree. In overwhelmed areas, they might simply be looking for a warm body with a nursing license.

That said, I think the bigger hurdle will be your employer. There was someone on the site recently who was upset because they keep getting cancelled, but their hospital told them that they would be fired if they took a travel job.

Most places I've worked (including union) have a clause that you can't take personal leave to go on travel assignments. Think of it this way; your hospital may not need people right now, but two weeks from now if there is a surge they'd be swamped. What happens if they decide they need you to work tomorrow, and you're in New York? In addition, if you're going back and forth, you could easily bring COVID back to your hospital.

Another thing to consider is that even though you aren't working right now, the hospital is still paying for the majority of your health insurance costs. The average employee contribution is only around 20% and the rest comes from the employer. Even if you're sitting at home, your hospital is continuing to pay hundreds (or maybe thousands) of dollars a month to keep you insured.

All of that to say, you could attempt to travel right now, and there are probably hospitals that would accept you. However, you could burn some serious bridges at your current hospital in the process.

At best, you could ask for a leave of absence and would probably have to pay for your own health insurance out of pocket (which is crazy expensive). As a brand new employee, you may not be eligible to take a leave for at least a year. At worst, if they said no and you did it anyway, you could be fired and marked ineligible for rehire. Being blacklisted at a prior employer can make it really difficult to find another job, and as a new grad you'd be in an even worse position.

Have you tried looking on sites like Indeed to see if there's any other PRN work you could pick up right now (nursing or otherwise)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Γ—

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies to learn more.