Getting "Called Off" - page 2

Ok, stupid question from student nurse who's only worked in a corporate environment for the last 15 years (i.e., stable hours/salary). What exactly is "getting called off"? Does that mean that if I... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    When we're called off we can use PTO. Not a problem for me as I have 300 hours and love being called off. Unfortunately it isn't often enough. I've been called off once the last year. I was cancled the last 4 hours of a 12 hour shift once this year too.

    Per diem nurses who are called off don't get paid and don't have PTO or other benefits, but that's just part of what they sign on for when they go per diem.
  2. by   QTBabyNurse
    you need to ask your potential employer if you are guaranteed your 36 hours a week. at my hospital, you are guaranteed your hours, so if you are called off for low census, you have two choices. #1-you take pto hours for the time lost. #2-you can still show up at work, however you will be sent to do another job in the hospital since your unit doesn't need you. it truly doesn't happen too often, more often than not you are being called in on your days off!
  3. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    One problem I encountered (doesn't happen so much now) was my hospital would put you "on call" (no choice) if we had a low census. Sure enough about 11a or 12p they would call you into a madhouse. I hated that. You can usually bet on a Monday morning when the surgury schedule is busy and there are empty rooms that we are going to get a lot of admissions. It used to tick me off because it was like they were trying to save a few bucks by keeping "an extra" nurse at home until it got so crazy on the floor that by the time you got there everyone (patients and nurses) were grouchy and overworked! Another supervisor is notorious for telling us day-shifters that we need 1-2 more admissions to "get another nurse". 20 minutes later the ER would call for 3 beds...:angryfire Thankfully, neither of those things hardly ever happen now.

    If I get called off, I jump for joy and use PTO cause it rarely happens.
  4. by   LilRedRN1973
    In the area where I live, getting called off varies by facility. The place where I work, I have never seen anyone getting called off but at the hospital 30 minutes south of here, my friend was only getting around 24 hours a week and being called off every 3rd shift. It got to a point where she had used her vacation days and ended up going to another facility. So it's different everywhere you go. If we have an unusually low census and have enough nurses to patients, the nurses who are "not needed" can flex, or in other words, be there to help out the RN's who have patients.

    Melanie = )
  5. by   neetnik461
    It's interesting to see all the variation in "call off" on this board! For me being called off is optional, you can "refuse" and the next person on the list will be given the option not to come in, and down the line until someone takes the call off. If you are on the top of the list to be called off and you refuse, you will be the first one contacted the next time and the next time until you take a call off. I guess in theory if you refused a call off and the entire list of people was contacted in order and everyone refused, then you would have to take the call off . . .but I have never seen this happen. Down the line there is always someone happy to take the time off.

    As others have said, PTO time is used up for a call off. On our floor, call offs involve 4 hour blocks of time. So, if they call me off for a 7a-7p shift, I have to call back at 10:30 a to see if they will need me to come in at noon, and then call again at 1:30 to see if they will need me at 3:00. It's pretty rare that anyone gets a full 12 hour call off.

    I have worked at my current job for 10 months and been called off for one day shift where I ended up having to come in to work from 3-7 p (so I used up 8 hours of PTO). It wasn't bad because the call off day was a Saturday, so it was nice to have most of the day off.

    Because of all the variation . . .I would ask about call off policy when you job interview . . . better safe than sorry!
  6. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from schooldays
    amazing! does this affect your paycheck often, or is it rare these days? how often do you have to go in last minute when called to make up for having a scheduled shift cancelled? when i research potential employers, can i address this by asking how stable their census is? should i ask how many times last year was your census under xx%? i guess i have to ask nurses working there.
    [font="comic sans ms"]in some hospitals, getting called off can affect your paycheck in a major way. something to ask about in your interviews.

    policies on making up for having a shift cancelled vary by hospital and sometimes by unit. another thing to ask about in your interviews. sometimes, you don't make up the shift and don't get paid. other places give you the option of using paid time off or not. some will let you schedule a make-up shift. others will call you in at the last minute. one place i worked let you use paid time off when you were cancelled, then if you scheduled an extra shift to make up for it, paid overtime.

    if you're really burned out, getting cancelled frequently can be a good thing.

  7. by   rox4synch
    I was hired to work post-partum on a low-volume (50-90 births a month) hospital birth unit. I am not cross-trained to L&D, so when there are no labor patients I frequently get asked if I'd like to take call as the L&D RN's here have done post-partum. We do alledgedly rotate being called off, but I have been put on call before when it wasn't my turn...I've learned to ask when called, "is it my turn?" can play havoc with your weekly pay or you can wind-up having no vacation pay/time to take an actual vacation! And, it is frustrating to be sitting at home "on call" at $2.00/hr when I could be working elsewhere that has a higher patient census....but, I stay because I like the lower patient census. Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad!
  8. by   BGgirl
    I work at a union hospital and our on call works like neetnik461 said. If census is low they go by seniority to ask who wants to take on call. Someone usually always takes it but in the chance that no one wants it they will force you off and you don't work or get paid that day. You still can use vacation time (CTO) to cover the day that you were placed on call.

    Most of the time if we're going to force someone off we encourage them to just take on call that way they still make the $2/hr on call pay and have the chance of getting called into work. I've take on call many times and have actually only been called into work twice in my 2 years of working there. It's just a gamble as to wether or not you'll get called into work. You make some pretty nice money if you get called in too so it can be worth it. The bad thing is that you end up taking all the new admissions.
  9. by   suehp
    In our hospital lately we have been getting called off a lot lately due to low census - but it is seasonal for us...come October it is highly unlikely we will be called off as it is our busy season with all the Snowbirds being here.

    We usually get 2 hours notice so for me who works 7p-7a I would generally get a call at 5pm saying that they dont need me - sometimes it is for the whole shift and sometimes it is just for 4 hours, and other times we are put on call until 1am (for $3.50 p/h)

    If we dont get called off we get floated to another unit if our census is still low.

    We can use PTO if we dont want to lose the pay.

    In the last 4 weeks I have been called off several times - I am not overly bothered at the moment but if it were to continue for too much longer I dont think I could sustain the drop in wages.
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    We are experiencing a very low census recently and so have been calling alot of people off. The full-time folks are guaranteed their full time hours though.

    We don't do it by seniority though - that would not be fair. We do it by keeping track of who has been called off and who is next in line.

    I love being called off by the way - I'm part time anyway and my goal is not to work at all.

    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Aug 20, '06
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    is this the case even in union hospitals?
    [font="comic sans ms"]depends on your contract -- something to ask about.
  12. by   tntrn
    Quote from stevielynn

    I love being called off by the way - I'm part time anyway and my goal is not to work at all.

    Oh, me too! I work per diem, so I'm almost always the first one called. BUT, by contract the nurse has the choice of taking call or being called off. They usually don't phrase it properly. Last week, it was "We're putting you on/call." When I called back and said I'd take it as a call-off, they got all bent out of shape because they wouldn't have coverage "if anything happens." Well, that's not my problem.

    So rumor has it that the next time I "refuse" (nurse manager's word) to take call, they will float me instead. Well, now we get into the language that include threats. And I don't play that game.
  13. by   Lisky90
    I worked per diem in Postpartum as a CNA/student nurse; this happened to me ALL the time. It was called recall, and it was something that occurred with all positions. When I graduated in May that was something I made sure I asked about when interviewing for RN positions. I was told by one L&D nurse mgr "no, we don't do that...the nurses are union...they would never stand for that." It was very frustrating to plan for a shift, hire a babysitter, and then get a call with two hours notice that I was put on recall. Which meant that I had an hour to get to work if they decided they were busy enough to call me in. I had to either cancel my babysitter...or put her on recall. There were times that they would put me on recall for the first four hours of my shift and tell me to call back to check in for the last 4 hours. There were times that the charge nurse would get too busy, and not realize that there was a need for recall due to low census, staff would show up only to be told they were recalled. If the charge nurse didn't figure things correctly the wrong person would be recalled; this created constant tension, arguments and accusations that those in charge were playing favorites. It was soooooo frustrating and yes it definately destroyed my budget. Why did I do it and not complain? A. I was per diem and could not commit to anything but per diem and per diem staff is the first to be recalled and B. Because I felt that as a student I had landed my dream job in Maternity and didn't want to make waves. Did they hire me when I finished school and take me on as an RN? No...due to an anticipated low census they couldn't justify putting me through a novice nurse training program. I would be very aware of this issue and if your facility uses any type of recall/on call...or whatever they choose to call it...I would definatley find out all the details, how it is tracked and who keeps track. As a student, I tried not to let it bother me...there were things that came up with school, unexpectedly that made me grateful to have an unplanned night off. However, now that I am working as a permanent, full time RN...with accrued time off...I don't know how that system would work with budgeting or with planning time off.