1.Ask specific questions about pay. I was quoted an hourly amount, and then told that I would be salaried based on a 40-hour week at that amount (I have YET to only work 40 hours, so they get the benefit in this case).
2.As for on-call, there are SEVERAL different questions:
-What is the pay for just "holding the phone" whether you get a call or not? Some places pay hourly, others pay based on the census, others may have a different way to pay this.
-When does the "clock start" for call? Is it when you leave the door of your home? Is it when you get to the patient? Is it when you get the call? Confirm the rate and make sure it is IN ADDITION TO the "hold the phone" pay, not IN PLACE OF it.
-What if you need "back up"? How does this work?
-What are the hours for call? (That is, what time does the "on call" nurse take over as the primary person to be called instead of the nurse assigned to the patient?)
-How soon after you start (since you are new to Hospice) will you be expected to take call? You need to get a specific time on this (not just "when you are ready", but something like, "we expect you to be ready to take call after 6 months/90 days/etc.")
-Do you get paid mileage for on call? What is the rate?
3. Obviously, ask if you get paid mileage what it is. Some places pay WAY less than what the Feds say.
4. Clarify how holidays are handled and what holidays you get. If you are salary, do you get paid holidays, or do you have to use PTO/vacation time for these? If you take call on a holiday, to get bonus pay and/or time and a half? How many holidays are you expected to work and/or take call?
5. Finally, I would ask what the typical caseload is at that particular agency. I know that every place is different, but with as much time as we have to dedicate to our patients, I think 12 is an "ideal" caseload, and any more than 14 or 15 is getting to be too much. This is a profession where you need to manage your time wisely and establish boundaries (in a firm but professional way) - although this is a "calling", when it comes down to it, this is still a job, and if you have a life/family outside of work. It sounds callous, but you will burn out quickly if you don't make and keep time for your family/self/life.
It is a great profession, and I really do love it, but you DO have to make a living and you DO have your own family and life. Some places will try to make you feel guilty about this, like if you "really cared" you would work for peanuts and neglect your own family for your patients. This is not true. To be a great nurse, you have to be ready, willing, and able to give your "all" to your patients when you are working - so take care of yourself and your family/life so you will be able to do this. :-)