low census

  1. How do your hospitals deal with low census? While we do not have to be off for low census often (due to registry employees being required to take it first), we do have to take our turns. I've always thought low census 'call' was unfair, as I see it as a cut in our salaries, which only hourly employees are affected by. It's never recommended that salaried employees cut their salaries by a day's pay, yet nurses do this regularly. Recently the rules have changed at my hospital. We used to be put on call for low census, which gave us call pay, as well as time and one half if called in to work. Now, to avoid paying us our measly buck and a half call pay AND time and a half if we're called in, my hospital calls me at 5 AM, informing me that my scheduled shift of 7a-7p has been changed to 11a to 7p and that I would be notified around 10 am if I will be needed. The same scenario is then reevaluated at 3 pm. Forcing me to be available YET receiving none of the benefits of 'call'.
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    About sheRN

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 4; Likes: 1
    RN, ICU


  3. by   INTEVA
    We don't usually have that problem @ our facility. There is a list of people that want days off. It's just that when we are so busy for such long periods of time ; we fight for a day.
  4. by   anitame
    Wow sheRN, this sounds like a horrible setup for the employees and great for the hospital. Your hospital must not be union? At my hospital the situation you described would NEVER fly. Our census has been ridiculously high now for over a year, but even when it was low we were given the OPTION to stay home, usually on call. Someone was always happy for an unplanned day off and we can use our accrued time off for compensation. The one time I actually was asked if I wanted to stay home that I chose to work, it was no big deal. Another nurse was glad to have the day off.
    I think I'd be looking into changing employers if I were you. This place does not sound like a good place to work IMHO.
  5. by   renerian
    Last year I took a hospital job and thought I would be fine. I got 2 days in 5 weeks. They shut the unit down twice for low census. I finally had to look elsewhere as I was new and had no time.

  6. by   Allison S.
    We have what we call "forced earned time" which basically means that you can be told when to take a vacation day. Big bummer for people who are saving up for maternity or who are just back from disability or something like that.

    No, I don't see the most highly paid employess (read: administrators) having to do this.

    Interestingly, I find that when we are down staffed for low census that things actually get a lot more difficullt, because we have fewer people to turn to if we need help with something.
  7. by   emily_mom
    I wish we had a low census. Tuesday when I left we had 7 people hanging in ACU waiting for a bed.
  8. by   SherRN
    We have what they call AS(adaquate sp? Staffing) Mostly in the summer as we are a seasonal town. They call about 0530 for a 0700 shift and say you can stay home. Most of the time you may use a holiday or vacation day if you wish.
    Sadly our census is down now in our prime season. 3 main reasons for that. Threat of war, The market and The increase in Canadian health insurance rate for coverage for travel.
    with all those factors our season is down 20 % for the town and 10 % for the hospital. We have not renewed 3 seasonal contract and let go 3 CNAs . Of course the minute we did we got busy.
  9. by   NurseDennie
    SheRN - how can that possibly be legal???? I can almost see how you would kind of have to "take it" if they called and said that your shift was changed from 7a-7p to 11a-7p and they might still call you off... you're kind of stuck. But to have to sit waiting for a 3 pm call?

    I don't see how they can make that stick. If they call you at 10 and say they don't need you yet and they'll call you if they need you at 1500, I'd say I'm not available at 1500, don't bother to call me, you've called me off for the day. I guess you could even say that at the first call.....

    I just don't see how they could make this stick. Even a little bit. Sheeeesh

    And Allison S - I'm with you, too. Whenever they sent a nurse home or pulled her to another floor at 1500, it was always the last 4 hour of HE!! on that floor. No slack at all and every one of the rooms that that nurse would have had got filled up. Whenever they asked if anybody wanted to go home because they were going to either go home or get pulled, I always BEGGED to go home - because everybody else is just sc***ed, tattooed etc. Needless to say there was a lot of competition for getting to go home early!!


  10. by   Tweety
    We typically run into that problem during our off-season here in Florida which is the summer. But in the summer we decrease the # of contract nurses, so we don't have as much staff.

    PRN or per diem are canceled first, because they don't have to pay them.

    There usually is a waiting list of people who want to be canceled.

    I've told them over and over "please cancel me any day, any time". Some floors do it on a rotating basis so everyone gets their fair share of being canceled.

    We can say no to being canceled if we are staff and they'll try someone else.

    It's gets hairy when CNAs get canceled because we sometimes are overstaffed with CNA and they don't want to be canceled. Then are asked very sternly to stay home. But they try to rotate that too.