Mandated time over you status! What can I Do? - page 5

I work in CCU in a small community hospital and like everyone else we are short handed. Rumor has it that management is either going to schedule us over our status or mandate 12 hr shifts. I hired in... Read More

  1. by   Sundowner
    First let me say thank you to you ICUBecky for the wonderful complement!
    Second let me are so right.....what will make us happy, why are nurses quitting their jobs? Why are nurses leaving a facility as wonderful as yours? What is going on? Lets look at it!
    When I graduated 6 or so years ago, you couldn't find a job. Hospitals laughed at you when you applied. I had to take an eight dollar an hour job as the 3-11 supervison in an alzheimers assisted living facility. LOVED the job! The facility was subject to a corperate take over and the new owners fired the entire staff. (I cried for weeks...loved that place). Any hoo...I lucked out and landed a job as an office nurse with the doc who was medical director of that facility....his nurse was retiring and he and I had a good working relationship and he offered me a job.

    Meanwhile, I was hearing that enrollment in nursing programs was dropping severly, I knew this was my chance to jump and get a better paying job....I left the doc (with a heavy heart) and landed in a ltc facility making top dollar for lpn's in the area. I was happy, my co-workers were a good bunch, we all got along it was a fun place to work with the standard amount of typical bull from management, nothing severe.

    Four years later the place goes to hell and I have to quit cause I cant take anymore. I watched staff that had been there for decades walk out and go agency. BUT WHY? I was one of the last to go, it started off slowly,,,within a year and a half the whole heart of the building went agency. My reasons for leaving, were lack of staff, and lack of any kind of support from administration, not a thanks, not a keep your chin up we are trying, just plain old do it or get out. I chose to get out being tired of the severe neglect, lack of competency, and fear for my license.
    The problem is this,,,,agency. Too much agency help is not a good thing. A different Charge nurse every other night reeks havoc on any builiding, specially when ya get one with crap for brains or complete lack of concern for the well being of people. Two out of four of your Lpn's being good...specially with agency charge. Agency CNA's ...god bless them,,,couldn't handle their job, no way. Couldn't possibly see myself caring for stangers every night and never getting to know them and how they need cared for well.

    Now, what upsets me, is the fact that these are peoples lives that are being thrown to the wind. Someone needs to do something. But what?

    Perhaps it should be a facilities responsibility when making contracts with agencys to state this: "We need this number of nurses/cna's...we want to contract the same nurse for this specified amount of time (months weeks). We will orient her/him as we would our regular employee. She/he will give their hours available to work and we will incorperate her/him to our schedule. If he/she is a flake,,,we will send them back to you for replacement." This allows the facility to prevent a different nurse/cna from waltzing in the door every other day and provides some continuity of care. It is a good plan I have seen used, I am under a six week contract with a facility now. I know these patients like the back of my hand, unfortunatly better than some of the regulars. I would join the staff if they could pay me the same, and I could make my schedule. Unfortunatly they cant.

    Now, tell me what you all think of this. Do you think if facilities offered greater pay than agency, and left scheduling up to the employees, that would alleviate the need for agency? The sad truth is that I don't believe that it would. I have a fear...and tell me what you think of my fear. My fear is that the majority of Nurses that are agency, are agency because it is the easy way out....they can skate by, not give their best, not get involved, and not care. (ducking from tomatoes being thrown at me)(suspecting that the tomatoes are being thrown from the not so average agency nurses...I know you are out there! I am one!)
    I think the state needs to make it harder to become a nurse, some of the people I see nursing out there are...well lets just say I wouldn't let them within ten feet of me. I think nurses need to be taught how to better be patient advocates. Big issue for me,,but I am getting off subject....

    In short.....(hee hee...this post is far from short...sorry...tend to ramble) What is the answer? Where are all the nurses going? Why?

    My final thoughts: I think Agency's were a brilliant idea, but have turned into a money making monster, a monster I gave in to in time of crisis.
  2. by   nightingale

    Suggestion: TRy putting this thread in the Agency Nursing topic and see what response you would get...

    Quite honestly, I think Agency Nursing is more difficult... I feel. to be an agency nurse, you must work harder, smarter, and be eons more flexible then regular staff....

    The Agency I work for (primarilly) has rigorous testing before they will send you out.. They also encourage the charge to fill out little "report cards on the agency nurse".... I try to do (primarily) telemetry... I have also done corrections, med/surg, some LTC, and the gambit of med/surg combos.....

    It will not make my point to discuss the complexitites of walking into a new unit and carry a full load.. but you know that is what is expected of us... I do fine with that.... We all have our own "style".. I have learned to be "low key" and carry a big stick...

    It is La La Land mentality to think that we could possibly get management to pay what agency pays us AND give us our choice of hours..... would that be enough for me? ABSOLUTELY... my primary reason for leaving a regular staff job is inflexibility... and OH what a surprise it was for me to start earning THAT kind of money!

    I am now hooked on agency nursing... not only do I LOVE the freedom of scheduling (yes, we do get called off and that is the price to pay), but I love not having my schedule "messed with"....

    My last regular staff job.. and mind you I was PRN... they changed my day shift into a night shift (7p-7a) without consulting me... silly me.. I did not read the schedule the day before I was to come in and they switched me and then told me I was to come in.. in NO uncertain terms I was fully expected to do this... Ofcourse I honored their schedule but geeezzz.... I have a life and I had plans the next day.... I told my manager in no uncertain terms... I would not "help" them like that again... I am no longer there because they could not promise me it would not happen again...

    I am shocked by managements "attitude" and clearly, where I have worked, it will not be changing overnight... I strongly believe.. just as in the Woman's Movement... it is a matter of evolution and not revolution that will create a change... In the mean time...

    Agency is a necessary remedy to meet the shortage of staff...... This has been what I have seen... It is not perfect... but I have seen many facilities put regular agency on their own schedules and this is great... I have done this too....

    Without a doubt... if a nurse is not good enough for the assignment.. then he/she should be reported to her agency and not reassigned.. pretty simple... and I do not know why you have not seen this done..... Yes I run across this from time to time but nothing (honetly) that is really blatant....

    Sundowner... you are obviously a wonderful caring nurse... I applaud your hard work and dedication.... and.... Thank you for letting me vent....

    I too... would like to become regular staff somewhere again... I long for the closeness and sapport I have read about in the articles on this BB... but it ain't gonna happen until I am insured of being treated with respect, fairness, and sanity of scheduling of hours.... oh and just between you and I... the money is kinda nice... but it is not the main reason I do this.. but it is nice compensation.....

    In peace, respect, and love of nursing,

  3. by   Terrie
    I want to thank each and everyone of you for all of your suggestions. I am sorry this thread got so heated over these issues. We really do need to stick together being that nurses are a different breed from the rest of the world
    My unit has a meeting on Nov 7th and we are inviting higher management to join us
    There was a long email from our bosses that said everyone was getting a raise and with our merit raise it could total 7% (don't get excited). The are also offering $1500 retention if you sign to stay with them for two years.
    I emailed them back and informed them that yes the raises would be ok but they had bigger problems if they mandated OT, 12 hr shifts, or scheduled us over our status. I would walk and a lot of others would be behind me. Not to mention the nurse I work with neglecting to turn post op pts for her entire shift which was reported and nothing was ever done and a few other problems .
    I guess I emailed the right person because it is all under investigation per orders from the head man!!!!
    I guess I got someone to listen finally.
    If it does not work and things do not change I am going to work for registery for the same hospital but a different boss. I make my own schedule and only work when I want to.
  4. by   Sundowner
    Way to go Terrie. I am so glad you got them to perk their ears and listen! I can't wait to hear how your meeting goes! Keep us informed!

    I am going to post a thread over in the agency nurse section...see what the agency folk have to say.....I suspect that the majoity of nurses that visit these boards are of intelligent types! I really want to pick the brain of the agency nurse that dosent give a crap, and I don't think I will find any here......I am off to pose interesting questions in the agency section!

  5. by   Terrie
    The meeting is Nov 7th but my boss found out that it is being investigated today. I think she is mad enough to fire me. She gave me a lot of attitude this morning.
  6. by   rdhdnrs
    Terrie stand your ground! The only way we can change things is to stand up for what's right, and stand together.
    Okay everybody, especially CareerRN, maybe the phrase, "the price we pay for our calling", was inaccurate. I should have thought of a better way to put it. I stand by the spirit of it, however, as I feel that to many of us, nurses are who we are, not just what we do.
    And yes, nursing is a job. If it was damaging my family, I would change in a second. I guess I've been lucky enough to be able to work in facilities that treat us fairly.
    I do not feel the need to be punished, to suffer, or to be beat down. Yes, I am female, and agree that one of the biggest problems our profession faces is that historically, it has been populated by women who have been brought up to have that hand-maiden mentality. I am not one of the handmaidens, by the way.
    I think the way to get management and administration to value what we do is to stick together. What form that will take remains to be seen.
  7. by   Sundowner

    To hell with the bosses tude! How can you be fired for doing your job and being concerend for the care of patients! I would rather deal with the boss's tude than deal with knowing I did nothing and looked the other way.
  8. by   Terrie
    I did not care much for her attitude either and I could not live with myself if I did not speak up for my patients in the case of neglect.
    I am certainly not going to neglect my family because the management can't staff their unit/hospitial. I may have to work OT when no one shows up to cover me because you cannot walk out and leave your patients, but I am not going to be forced to work 12hrs shifts and they are not going to schedule me over my status. I have attitude to and I am not going to fall in line and obey their wishes like they want me to.
    I think they call it insubordination and that is how they fire you, that is also why I am glad it is being investigated by administration.
    Last edit by Terrie on Oct 29, '01
  9. by   NurseDennie
    Hi -

    I've never worked in an acute care setting where they mandated overtime. And I've always worked the 12 hour shifts when I was floor nursing. I hated that 11th and 12th hour each day, but I sure did enjoy the days OFF. Of course, after three 12's in a row, you need one of them just to recuperate!

    As far as mandatory overtime, I don't see how your facility could legally mandate overtime. I know that as far as administration is concerned we are actually equipment, BUT we have a right to refuse to jeopardize our licenses and our patients. I personally know that I could not work to 11p and then work another shift beginning at 7a. It wouldn't be safe! I'd document the heck out of it and simply refuse.

    As far as working holidays and such, I guess nursing school drummed into me that nurses work these. I didn't mind until I started getting more seniority and still was working all the holidays. Small things like the Monday holidays started irritating me first. On those "minor" holidays, my hubby and children would be home and I'd be at work.

    The problem on that floor was that the nurse manager and the charge nurse pretty much had stopped even *pretending* that they were being even-handed about the assignments. It would have been fair if the schedules had stayed the same around major holidays, but they never did. And you knew that the later the schedule was posted, the more heinous the "crimes."

    I went to my nurse manager and told her that I'd work Thanksgiving and I'd work New Years Eve and New Years, but that surely *some* nurse on the floor could be scheduled off on Christmas Eve AND Christmas, and I was respectfully requesting that it be me!! And I got it. I had an ulterior motive - the worst days and nights of my entire nursing career have been on Christmas Eves and Christmasses.


  10. by   -jt
    Staten Island RNs & NYSNA ABOLISH Mandatory OT

    Hospital agrees to a 16-percent raise and the ABOLISHMENT of forced overtime -

    Friday, October 12, 2001

    After nine months of grueling -- and sometimes nasty -- negotiations, Registered Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital, represented by the New York State Nurses Association, have approved a three-year contract -- the first in this borough to prohibit the fiercely contested practice of mandated overtime....

    Under the new contract, which has a retroactive start date of April 1, the hospital will increase nurses' salaries by 16 percent over the three years, fill roughly 80 more full-time positions and pay up to $4,000 each year in health care coverage to retired nurses....

    Both hospital management and officials from the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the union representing the 840 Registered Nurses (RNs) at the facility, were relieved by the contract agreement, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of RN union members. Neither side wanted more protests or all-night bartering sessions and both repeatedly claimed patient care was their first priority......

    "We had 27 sessions," said Bernadette Bellantoni, a SIUH Registered Nurse and a member of the union negotiating team. "I think it's a decent and fair contract, it's something to build on." ......

    The biggest victory for the nurses, the prohibition of mandated overtime, goes into effect in February, giving the hospital time to recruit staff RNs and fill some of those 80 full time positions. Abolishment of mandatory overtime was won after a long and hard-fought battle in which the union considered, but never actually voted on, striking.......

    Hospital officials had said until now that a nursing shortage made it impossible to eliminate mandated overtime. They ultimately then concluded that ENDING the practice would HELP in recruiting more nurses.......

    "It's difficult to abolish mandated overtime and maintain appropriate staffing levels," said Anthony Ferreri, the recently hired executive vice president for the hospital. "[But] the idea here is to make the hospital a more attractive employer to bring in more nurses." ........

    As commonly occurs when one group of RNs is successful in their contract negotiations and gains improvements at their facility, there may be an impact on other facilities in the area to up their standards or risk losing their own staff to the facility that has made the improvements. Many observers said the new mandated overtime provision will pressure Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, Staten Island Region, which has also been involved in bitter negotiations with nurses, to do the same. Nurses at St Vincents are also represented by NYSNA, but hospital officials would not comment on the issue......

    The unpopular and fiercely opposed practice of mandated overtime, in which a nurse could be forced to work back-to-back, eight-hour shifts or more, with little notice, has been criticized as "exhausting" and "unsafe." The prohibition, the union said, will improve working conditions across the board and allow for more bedside care........

    "After so many months of being stubborn, the hospital administration realized that they need to make some changes if they want to attract more nurses and be competitive," said Mark Genovese, a spokesman for NYSNA........

    Though rarely used in the past, mandatory overtime has existed for decades, but hospitals all over the country have relied on it as a staffing measure more in the last two or three years, since the beginning of a nursing shortage........

    "Our goal was to improve patient care and to do that we need to improve recruitment and retention," said Patricia Kane, a Registered Nurse in the SIUH heart surgery tower and a member of the negotiating team........

    Mrs. Bellantoni, RN, who has worked at the hospital for 22 years, agreed and said negotiations accelerated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and cooperation among the two sides became a more pressing concern.........

    The only exception to mandated overtime is in the event of a disaster such as last month's. (Interestingly, no RNs had to be forced to work extra shifts at that time - they volunteered.).....

    "You are not selling apples and oranges," said Mrs. Bellantoni. "You are taking care of lives. We want to leave feeling that we did our jobs well, and you need the numbers of nurses to do that." ......

    The average base salary for nurses at University Hospital will increase by 16 percent to $55,000 per year by 2003, not including differentials for evening/night shift, experience, certification, or education. All nurses will get an 8-percent raise this year, and a 4-percent increase for the next two years.........

    Management also agreed to fill 80 full-time slots and hire more float pool nurses to substitute when others call in sick. The union conceded on this issue and agreed to a more lenient hiring timeline..........

    Several other contract provisions, including extending to 22 years the period of time a nurse is eligible for a raise, were also added. Previously, raises were capped and stopped after 20 years.........

    Both sides said they were pleased with the final product and hoped the new contract would solve some of problems at the institution........

    "Of course this isn't like waving a magic wand and making everything OK," Genovese said. "Now the real work begins."

    2001 The Staten Island Advance.
    Used with permission.
  11. by   Terrie
    The unit meeting came and went. They did not mandate over time, 12hr shifts and they will not schedule us over or status. Too many people said they would walk if they did.
    It is also under investigation because our mother hospital knew nothing about it until I emailed the vice president of human resources at the big house.
    We won this time
  12. by   betts
    To All: It depends on the State your in as too labor laws

    FAQ # 1 If an employee believes he has been terminated unfairly, does he have a legal right to challenge the termination?

    Virginia is an employment-at-will state; this means the employer may terminate any employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason. As a general rule, therefore, the employee has no right to challenge the termination or request a hearing. There are a few very limited exceptions. For example, an employee may not be discriminated against or terminated because he has filed a safety complaint or exercised his rights under OSHA law.
    Section 40.1-51.2:1. Also, federal law protects employees from discrimination because of age, race, sex, religion, national origin or handicap.

    ...Virginia's Labor Law
  13. by   betts
    FAQ #3 Does an employer have to provide employees breaks or a meal period?
    No, unless the employee is under the age of 16.

    FAQ #4 Are there any restrictions as to how many hours an employee can be required to work or when he may work?
    No, not after an employee attains his 16th birthday.

    FAQ #2 deals with whom handles discrimination cases but, as you see, Virginia has Archaic Labor Laws.

    I was recruited from Indiana and brought here too Virginia as a DON for a large corporation (MFA) where I was too ready a facility that was adding 60 beds to existing 60 beds. I was a DON in Indiana for 7years at a 134 bed LTC with 60 bed lock-down alzheimers unit. They had also recruited and relocated a unit manager from Alabama for the facility but, neglected to give her the position. I dealt with 4 interim administrators and that isn't easy. They all have different ideas as too how a facility should be run. Anyway, I decided to give the Alabama Nurse her do and ended up butting heads with Administration about her. Subsequently, I was let-go because the then interim administrator didn't fill that I could run a 120 bed SNF. I was totally dumbfounded!!! It all boiled down too me giving her the chance. I was given no notice, no time before leaving and have no rights here to contest my dismissal. The Alabama Nurse didn't get the position and has given her notice.
    Why is it that Corporate can enforce a 15 day non-exempt, 30 day exempt notice from nurses yet give none? It was the Corporate VP that interviewed me, checked my employment history, and okayed my relocation yet when I called and spoke with him, he acted like he never heard of me. It seems too me that its Corporate that's our problem. If they refuse too allow us to do what they hired us for and refuse to back our decisions(we are the one's dealing face to face with patients/clients), then I have to ask why are they in this business? Nursing needs Lobbyist and we need too email our government and let them know just how we feel. That's alot of mail that can't be ignored. It all boils down too what we've seen since the terriost attacks; AMERICA...UNITED WE STAND!