When the hospital cancels you for a shift...

  1. Lately census has been low. We take turns with cancellations. My problem is with our hospital's unwritten but absolutely expected to comply policy.

    If a nurse works a 12 hr shift s/he is not cancelled but "delayed". Which means that you have to be available or on call for the hospital in case you are needed at 3p or ll pm if nights. So it's not really like being off cause you're waiting, can't schedule other places. (many of nurses work agencies also).

    Is this typical?
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    About NanikRN

    Joined: Mar '10; Posts: 387; Likes: 1,366
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    Specialty: Oncology, Rehab, Public Health, Med Surg

    44 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    I have multiple employers, although not hospitals, and I've adopted the 'first come, first get' philosophy. Most of my employers never bother to call me, so conflicts don't turn up frequently yet. If I were cancelled, I would take the offer of work. I work when I can, can't afford to sit at home holding my breath. Gotta pay the rent.
  4. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Quote from NanikRN
    Lately census has been low. We take turns with cancellations. My problem is with our hospital's unwritten but absolutely expected to comply policy.

    If a nurse works a 12 hr shift s/he is not cancelled but "delayed". Which means that you have to be available or on call for the hospital in case you are needed at 3p or ll pm if nights. So it's not really like being off cause you're waiting, can't schedule other places. (many of nurses work agencies also).

    Is this typical?
    Sounds to me like your employer wants to have their cake and eat it as well.

    Either a nurse is going in or she/he isn't. If they want nurses to hold on "stand-by" then some sort of financial compensation should be arranged. Times are tough, you cannot expect someone to turn down other work because they *might* be needed several hours later. Indeed wouldn't expect to put half one's entire day on hold hanging around on tenter hooks.

    If the policy is unwritten what sort of punishment if any occurs when a nurse decides not to hang around waiting for "the call" and does not show up if summoned?
  5. by   NanikRN
    I'm not sure what the consequences might be. No one that I know has challenged it ---but I'm ready to be first
  6. by   DoGoodThenGo
    You want to read over the nursing policies and rules to find something that spells things out. Like this:

    1. StandbyNurses will not normally be scheduled for standby but the University may schedule employees when it determines there is a need for standby. Usually, if this occurs, it will be on occasion of an emergency or for other special reasons. The University will be solely responsible for determining the need for and the number and qualifications of employees required for standby.
      Nurses on standby will be paid a flat rate per hour of call.
      Nurses who are on standby and who are called in for work will be paid standby pay plus pay for all hours worked on a call-in but not less than three (3) hours' pay for the call-in.
      Hours paid for standby will be paid a flat rate per hour of call. These standby hours will not be credited towards overtime. Subsequent call-ins while on standby will be credited toward hours worked in the week for overtime purposes, however, an employee will not be paid overtime or premium pay twice for the same hours worked nor is there to be pyramiding of pay for call-ins while on standby.
      The hours credited for work on a call-in while on standby will not include travel time to or from home as the minimum pay provision is to allow for the inconvenience and the travel time involved, but pay will begin from the time the nurse reports to the duty station.
    2. Nurses scheduled for standby work will be given as much advance notice as practical but not less than three (3) calendar days advance notice so that the employees may make their personal plans accordingly; however, in cases of emergency or during times of decreased census it may be necessary for the University to schedule employees for standby work with less than three (3) days notice.A nurse, at his/her option and as scheduling will allow, may take time off in the same week in an amount equal to any time worked as a result of being called in.

      From: Understanding of Policies Between the University of Missouri and the Missouri Nurses Association | Human Resources Policy Manual | Rules and Regulations | University of Missouri System

      Should like to clarify my previous post. Do not deny a facility does not have rights to put nursing staff on stand-by, but the policy should be spelled out in writing and fair to both the staff and hospital.
  7. by   DoGoodThenGo
    You want to find something like this in your facilities policy/rules manual:


    1. StandbyNurses will not normally be scheduled for standby but the University may schedule employees when it determines there is a need for standby. Usually, if this occurs, it will be on occasion of an emergency or for other special reasons. The University will be solely responsible for determining the need for and the number and qualifications of employees required for standby.
      Nurses on standby will be paid a flat rate per hour of call.
      Nurses who are on standby and who are called in for work will be paid standby pay plus pay for all hours worked on a call-in but not less than three (3) hours' pay for the call-in.
      Hours paid for standby will be paid a flat rate per hour of call. These standby hours will not be credited towards overtime. Subsequent call-ins while on standby will be credited toward hours worked in the week for overtime purposes, however, an employee will not be paid overtime or premium pay twice for the same hours worked nor is there to be pyramiding of pay for call-ins while on standby.
      The hours credited for work on a call-in while on standby will not include travel time to or from home as the minimum pay provision is to allow for the inconvenience and the travel time involved, but pay will begin from the time the nurse reports to the duty station.
    2. Nurses scheduled for standby work will be given as much advance notice as practical but not less than three (3) calendar days advance notice so that the employees may make their personal plans accordingly; however, in cases of emergency or during times of decreased census it may be necessary for the University to schedule employees for standby work with less than three (3) days notice.A nurse, at his/her option and as scheduling will allow, may take time off in the same week in an amount equal to any time worked as a result of being called in.
    From: Understanding of Policies Between the University of Missouri and the Missouri Nurses Association | Human Resources Policy Manual | Rules and Regulations | University of Missouri System
  8. by   mom35
    My hospital of employment puts us on call. It is when we are scheduled to work and the census is low so they dont need as many nurses as are scheduled. They call and tell us we are "on call", and if they need us, usually before midnight, I work night shift, they call and we go in. If they dont need us, they dont call by midnight and we are off and do not get paid. I have seen people refuse to be put on call and work anyway, usually I am scheduled five days so I dont mind being put on call once and awhile.
  9. by   alovelymother
    My hospital puts us on call, but it's in our handbook and they can only do it once per pay period. We also get compensated $2/hr for the time we stay home.
  10. by   That Guy
    I have never heard of a cancelled shift. We always did on call. Where the entire 12 hours you could be called in at any time. Sure it sucked, but it sure beat working sometimes.
  11. by   KelRN215
    When I worked in the hospital, we worked primarily 12 hr shifts but they would only cancel for 4-8 hrs/time. So you'd get called at 5am that they didn't need you but that you would have to be "on call" for either 11 am or 3pm. You did not get paid for your time of being "on-call".
  12. by   turnforthenurse
    The only time I have ever been cancelled was on Thanksgiving when the census was really low and the supervisor asked if I wanted to be cancelled instead of on call. Otherwise, if the census is low, I will be on call. We get paid $1/hr to be on call and if we do not get called in, they will use PDO to compensate for missing that shift unless you tell them not to take from your PDO. It does kind of suck though because I hate waiting around to see if I am going to get called into work. Some evenings I get called in at 8pm; other times I won't get called in at all. It just depends.
  13. by   tokmom
    Yes, our hospital does this, do did my previous one. Currently we get on call pay of 4\he. If the nurse gets called in, then its time and a half. Our contract also has a low census fund. A nurse can come in and get hours doing projects.
  14. by   nursie_nursie_415
    My facility has a "no cancel" policy for regular staff, & the per diem staff cannot be canceled within 72hrs of the scheduled shift. We can always "self cancel" in situations of overstaffing but because other floors may be short, the floors with extra staff float their less senior nurses where they are needed. This agreement between our union & the hospital coupled with the struggling economy probably has contributed to the hospital not having a new grad program in many years.

    This past year especially, the census on my unit has been so low at times that half of the floor will be closed down. This has been happening on other floors as well. From a financial stance I don't blame the administrators for not allowing new hires but it is concerning that "young blood" aren't being trained, especially with some of the more experienced staff retiring or becoming too sick to return to work.

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