Guerilla management tactics

Nurses General Nursing


How do you handle nursing administrators that try to bully staff?? I am a flex pool employee and I assumed that I had the flexibility to schedule my shifts on any unit I chose, at least thats what my nurse manger told me on 3 different occasions. I have been working strictly rehab. Recently, I told the rehab nurse manager that I was going to be taking some ER shifts. Without even discussing it with me, she went to the flex-pool nurse manager behind my back. I don't know for sure what transpired but the next thing I know, the rehab nurse manager was calling me telling me that I wouldn't be taking any ER shifts and that I would be working 4 nights a week for her. I was very angry. I called the flex nurse manager and she verified that they had changed my schedule and informed me that I am now obligated to rehab and obligated to work the majority of my shifts on nights. This clearly violates the flex policy. I have a meeting with the DON on Thursday about this. I expect my managers to treat me with the same amount of respect they think they're intitled to. I am not a grade school child they can push around, I am an adult and I have choices. I chose to leave agency to go to work at this particular hospital because I loved working there as an agency nurse. I have really been rethinking that decision recently. With the difficulty they are having finding staff right now, I would think they would be concerned with recruiting and retaining staff. They haven't made me want to stay. Any similar experiences or advice?? Thanks!!:(

Specializes in ICU, nutrition.
With the difficulty they are having finding staff right now, I would think they would be concerned with recruiting and retaining staff. They haven't made me want to stay. Any similar experiences or advice??


Funny how when managers are short-staffed they start pulling stunts like this, huh? We recently lost an EXCELLENT nurse in our ICU because our manager wouldn't let her change from part-time (working 2-12s a week) to full-time (working 2-12s and 1-8 a week). Our hospital policy is that you have to work 32 hrs a week to be full-time (which she would have done). So the nurse manager TOOK A POLL of the nurses working the day she was given this request, and determined that if she "let one person do it, she'd have 6 more lining up to do it." Never mind that these people could not really afford to lose that amount of money a week just to prove a point. When the manager polled me (surprising, since I was still in orientation), I told her that as long as it wasn't on the weekend, I'd pick up that extra 4 hours they'd have to cover each week, so I could always get 40 hours a week(since they won't let us schedule 2-8s and 2-12s to get 40, only 3-12s with an extra 12 every other week).

All the PRN people in ICU (except for 1 on nights) work 7-3 M-F. It is a mad scramble nearly every afternoon to cover these nurses' patients for 4 hours till night shift comes on. At least once a week I get called to come in at 3 and pull a 16. At least if she had let the part-timer go full-time with 32 hours/week and I picked up an extra 4, I'd know in advance when I'd be working a 16 hour shift.

I just started in January as a new grad. When I was hired, I was told there were no openings on days. So I took nights, reluctantly. Once I got on nights (halfway through my 12 week orientation), I realized I loved it and did not want to work days. So then the manager came to we new people and told us that one of us would have to go to day shift (even though they always have more trouble staffing nights than days). No one had quit, been fired, was on maternity leave, or anything! There WAS an opening, she had just been covering it with PRN people for a long time and finally got tired of messing with it.

So I said, OK, I'll go to day shift, even though I don't really like it, if you'll let me work every 3rd weekend instead of every other weekend. That wasn't good enough either, because it wouldn't be fair to everyone else who had to suffer through that first year of working every other weekend, I was told. So now the four new people are alternating day and night shift until the new nurse she hired for day shift gets out of orientation.

It never surprises me anymore when I'm told that a manager is being rigid or unreasonable. But I can't understand why they do it when NO ONE is beating a path to their door for jobs. Every hospital in this area is short handed; I could go to the hospital across town and get more $$, a $5000 sign-on bonus, and better student loan repayment than I'm getting at my present facility. But I'd have to start all over again in the orientation process, and I'm not ready to do that. So I guess I'll stay and take my lumps.

I wish I had some advice to offer rather than just anecdotes that let you know you're not alone. Could you go back to agency nursing? Or refuse all shifts on rehab since you didn't agree to work all or any of your shifts there? If you lay down and take it, I guarantee you will keep getting it!

Good luck!


104 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.


Management such as this deserves only one answer... YOUR FEET!!!!

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU.

Devil's advocate you have a "home base"? Our prn/flextime people have home bases and they have to fulfill their contracted hours in that unit, especially if they need staffing. Then they can go outside the unit. If you have that policy, then yes they can make you work there....if not....complain to human resourses


4,516 Posts

Sounds like this manager is changing the rules to suit her....nice that she likes you BUT....! If it's not what you want I'd complain too. Agency work is great isn't it??? :) Hope I can do it again someday...

Our flex pool people can sign up on one unit, but the nursing supervisor can float them to one of the 'designated' areas...but perhaps your flex pool works differently than those around here...? When I did flex pool I had 3 areas of expertise...ICU, ER and Stepdown and I worked them all, sometimes 4 hours in each which was a pain.:( If I signed up on ER schedule I might get floated to of the prices I paid for the extra $$$ and choosing my shifts and days... :)


712 Posts

I have worked as a nurse LVN 3 years RN 2 and I refuse to let anyone bully me like that. You would think with the lack of staff they would be more accomodating. Personally that is why I work only perdiem and registry. Until I find a hospital that is for me I work when I want I will not float unless their policy states it and right now being short staffed if won't happen. I recently resigned from my other perdiem jobs because she told me one thing and then it turns out to be another. I don't have a problem working 3 12's per month with 2 of them being weekend. Then she turns around telling me I have to pull 6 12's in a month. That is more like parttime. When I approached her about it she started getting ancy about it. Well I don't lose my cool. I went home thought it over and simply resigned. No nurse life should evolve around their workplace unless you allow it.

No matter what nurse managers may think they do not own your life or career. And no one deserves to be treated like a salt shaker being passed for person to person without a say in where they're going. If you don't need the benefits go per diem and work when and where you will. The smartest thing I ever did was get my own insurance; I consider it the cost of my freedom.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

The problem is they think it is still 1995, just not ready to deal with the fact that most nurses think like independant contractors.

Specializes in Hospice, ER, Telemetry.

I just want to thank everyonef or their supportive posts. I appreciate it!! On our flex pool, we can preschedule our shifts with the nurse managers for our convenience. If it looks like we weren't going to meet our 40 hours per pay period requirement, the flex pool manager can float us where ever we are needed. They never told me that prescheduling made me obligated to that floor. In fact I was told 3 separate times that I could schedule anywhere I wanted. I certainly do feel that they have changed the rules to suit their needs. Apparently they have forgotten that there is a nursing shortage and that they need me, I don't need them. I have a meeting with the DON tomorrow so we'll see what she thinks, keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks!!


2,709 Posts


They probably did - and they can - and thats why its so important for nurses to unionize. Under Management Rights, the hospital has the right to change anything it wants UNLESS the nurses are a union, & then any changes the hospital wanted would have to be negotiated with and decided on by the nurses first.

If you arent part of a nurses union, and dont have a written contract guaranteeing the terms of your employment, you are at their mercy. They can say one thing today and change it tomorrow. If you arent unionized, they make the rules themselves. They can do whatever they want to you, change the rules as they see fit, "yes" you to death & then turn right around and do something else because it doesnt matter what they told you if you dont have a written guarantee. Do you at least have an independent contract from them spelling out the terms you were working under?

If not, all you can do is complain to them about what they did to you. They can choose to take no action on your complaints & then all you can do is either do it their way or quit. Without a written contract spelling it all out, they are allowed to call the shots at their whim & change them whenever. If the nurses are not unionized, and you also dont have anything in writing yourself from the manager who told you what your job would be, you'll just have to depend on your DONs good graces and the goodness of her heart.

And consider whether you want to work their schedule or look for another job - just in case her heart is cold. And next time, insist to have in writing whatever they tell you the job is & what you are agreeing to.

Good luck.


712 Posts

I have notice even with some hospitals with in house registry they still try to dominate nurses choices and make them subject to bs tactics! They just can't leave us be!!!!!!

Our hospital has been in a flux for several years because there are so many types of shifts in the same facility. It started out as a way to make nurses happy but has become a source of frustration for all concerned. Staffing protocols go out the window when mgmt has a need they can't fill easily. The only rule they keep is to NEVER hire agency nurses. We lost a lot of PRN's because mgmt decided to drop the float pool and use the PRN's instead. We lost a lot of ER nurses because mgmt wanted to alternate day/night shifts. Monday we vote on union representation. This ought to tell you how far we have come - not very.

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