Full time to PRN?

Specialties Operating Room


I have worked in the OR for a yr and a half. I loved surgery so much that I went straight into the OR after graduating nursing school. I still love surgery, but the call and mandatory late days are getting to be a struggle w/ my family situation and working on my BSN. My husband travels quite a bit for work and I have a young child. We live far from our family, so not much of a support network to help us out. I want to change my status from full time to PRN....but I am nervous to approach my manager. Our OR is hurting for nurses and people seem to be trickling out the door. I am afraid of letting my coworkers down b/c I know if I leave, it's one less person to cover the mandatory late days and call.

Thoughts? Opinions?

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

You've got to do what's best for you and your family. It's great that you're loyal to your job and your co-workers, but family comes first. Remind yourself that the staffing needs in the OR are not your problem. If they need more staff, they need to hire more staff (it's not like there aren't nurses who are willing to accept the job). It's not up to you to solve the problem and run yourself into the ground trying to help everyone out.

Think of it this way- if you stay full time you might get frustrated, tired, and burnt out. You'll resent the job for the sacrifices it entails and the time it keeps you away from your family. Which means that you won't be as effective at what you do. But if you go PRN, get your priorities in order, have the time that you need with your family, you'll keep enjoying your job- and that attitude with make your work, and the work of those around you more efficient.

Oh my goodness, for a second I thought I started this specific thread. I am or was in the same boat. I am PRN not by choice though. When I finished nursing school my nurse manager said he could offer me a 12-8 evening slot. Mind you he hired new nurses to our hospital and the got 6-3 day slots, full time at that. I have worked in my department for 13 yrs total. I was a surg tech first. I took it as a slap in the face. I had a young child that was in school, a husband deploying quite regularly and no support system when he's gone. Well one day the person having to pick up my daughter after school failed to do so. That was the end of that shift for me. I went out on maternity leave and when I returned to work it was weekends only. It works for my family. I had to do what was best for my family. I feel guilty because I know they are short staffed, but as it was stated in previous post, we can't do it all. Family first.

Thanks!!! I appreciate the encouragement and affirmation of what was going on in my mind. I mustered up the courage and spoke w/ the director yesterday and, unfortunately, there aren't any open prn positions. I also asked HR if there was anywhere else in the hospital I could work PRN and, quite rudely, her response was "you cannot work anywhere prn in this hospital because you have no floor experience and no floor skills!" Very frustrating. I'm just going to press on...and keep exploring other options.

Thanks again :o

You said you work 1.5 yrs total as an RN all of it in the OR. I gather you don't need the benefits? What about looking for other prn jobs in other hospitals or surgery centers near you? Lots of ads i see want "two years of experience". For that reason may want to keep your job until you find another before stop working all together. It may bode better for you if you are currently working while looking. But family comes first. do what you have to. I hear you though. im in the same boat. I actually quit for the same reasons you did with thoughts of spending a year at home with the kids and then they offered me a great schedule. I've been there over ten years. Now I'm on the fence but i've already given up my childcare so now i don't have any until school starts back up. im in a quandary as they say. but then not really "Family comes first" as theyve said above me. There arent any open prn positions in the hospital i work at either. I wish you luck. IMO, it only makes sense to do your best to accommodate those you have working for you. cheaper than training someone new than to lose someone enthusiastic about the work they do.

Well you can always do registry or master booking for work if you have tons of hospitals around you. I got into registry when I experienced burn out from work when I was forced to do mandatory overtime every day. Check out registry companies for your area that specializes in staffing for OR and see how much work they have available on a weekly basis. You definitely have to do what is best for you. Good luck.

Rather than PRN can you switch to part-time? At least that way you might have it easier dealing with the mandatory OT. Also, try going out of the box, can you work a weekend day? One night and a day? Sometimes you just have to start asking the right questions. Finally, if you can tough it out for another six months, you will probably have more options. The cold hard facts:

-You don't have floor experience, so that will be a tough transition, which isn't something that sounds good for you right now.

-OR nurses are expensive to train. Get to your two full years, get your CNOR, and you'll be able to get a PRN gig somewhere. Look at the back of the AORN journal, there are a lot of openings for OR nurses, hospitals just do not want to pay to train them. Often, there are jobs that are not advertised, but a unit will jump on an experienced OR nurse. I know mine would!

-You'll have more leverage if you tough it out. 1.5 years isn't a lot in OR nurse years. Two years is better.

Your hospital is short sighted, they'd be better off keeping you in some capacity. You're trained, you know where everything is, you know your surgeons, and frankly, they haven't gotten their money's worth yet. Usually it takes three years to recoup training costs. Not to mention, if you're a good employee (which I am sure you are) whydo they want to gamble on someone new? Look for another gig, then if you find one, go to your manager and state your case. If they're smart, they'll realize better to keep you in some capacity than lose you to a hospital that did not pay to train you.

Best of luck!

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