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I keep getting cancelled.. help :(

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Hi everyone, I am currently a newer nurse working on a specialized unit in a hospital. I started working there in January and came off of orientation in March, so I have been on my own for about 1.5 months. Up until now I haven't had any issues with getting cancelled, but I was just called off for my 4th shift in a row today. This is extremely frustrating because a. how am I supposed to gain more nursing experience as a new nurse and b. how am I supposed to have any means of income? It is frustrating because I was hired for per diem on my unit (all new nurses are) so we are the first to get cancelled due to low census. I'm afraid that I'll lose all of my shifts for the upcoming week as well.

Is there anything I can do in this situation? I know I should talk to management about this but in reality there is not much they can do since it is hospital policy to cancel someone if the census is low. Since I have been there only 4 months and this is my first job is it inappropriate to start looking for another one? And given the current crisis we are in I feel that this makes this extra difficult for me to find another position. I really do love my current job and don't want to leave but this lack of hours lately is not okay with me. Anyone who's been in this situation or similar, what did you do? I'm just a baby nurse who really wants to gain valuable nursing experience and a solid income. 😞 Thanks guys.

PollywogNP, ADN, BSN, MSN, LPN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele/ER/Urgent Care. Has 44 years experience.

All new nurses hired at this hospital are hired per diem? All new grads are hired per diem only? Does not make sense. Go talk to HR, your boss etc.

RNNPICU, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU. Has 13 years experience.

Per diem is an as needed position. Unfortunately staff have priority over per diem workers. Sadly, this is how these positions work. I am not sure why new grads would be hired into this position as typically it is for experienced nurses. Many hospitals are experiencing low census and lower volumes therefore staff are being ATO'd. Hopefully later this Summer volumes will be picking up.

Were you hired for 3- 12 hour shifts? What is your contract?

If it truly is just an as needed position, you may need to look elsewhere.

Hoping you can get some shifts soon.

Take care

PollywogNP, ADN, BSN, MSN, LPN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele/ER/Urgent Care. Has 44 years experience.

Time to find out about “other units “. Go talk to hiring department about your options. Agree it makes no sense to hire new grad as per diem as it will be difficult to become proficient and to monitor progress. So you have no benefits? We’re you offered higher hourly salary then full time?

@RNNPICU yea, I'm not sure about the other units in my hospital but on the unit I was hired on all new grads start out as per diem and typically can apply for FT or PT around 6 months. I do have a set schedule where my manager gave me 3 days a week, but I have been getting cancelled from those hours this past week. It is just frustrating because in April I was working 3-4 days a week due to a surge of patients but now we suddenly are completely empty so I am first to be cancelled. I am considering looking to transfer departments within my hospital but I have only been on my unit for 4 months and feel that it won't look very good that I am leaving my unit this early on.

@PollywogNP No, I do not have benefits but my pay rate is significantly higher than that of a FT employee. I definitely am considering a departmental transfer within my hospital, I am just worried that being that I have only been on my unit since January it won't look good to other departments that I am transferring out already, plus I still don't have a lot of experience yet as a new nurse

PollywogNP, ADN, BSN, MSN, LPN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele/ER/Urgent Care. Has 44 years experience.

@RNPICU I fully understand what per diem/PRN position means having been float pool, PRN back in the day. Pure nonsense to hire new grad in this role but hey one of my former students was hired in the float pool as a new grad, which was dumb.

RNNPICU, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU. Has 13 years experience.

PollywogNP: I agree. I feel for the OP because it really does new grads an injustice.

OP: Check with the guidelines on transfer within the hospital, some are 6 months, some are more. Also, maybe check to see if they need staff on the other units, assuming you have been crosstrained or are units that you would float to.

Also --- when looking into the possibility of a department transfer, just be open and honest with your current manager... Let her know that you simply need to try to find something with a little more guarantee since you have to have some income... any reasonable manager would understand this.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

On 5/9/2020 at 6:47 AM, Heather Danielle said:

Hi everyone, I am currently a newer nurse working on a specialized unit in a hospital. I started working there in January and came off of orientation in March, so I have been on my own for about 1.5 months. Up until now I haven't had any issues with getting cancelled, but I was just called off for my 4th shift in a row today. This is extremely frustrating because a. how am I supposed to gain more nursing experience as a new nurse and b. how am I supposed to have any means of income? It is frustrating because I was hired for per diem on my unit (all new nurses are) so we are the first to get cancelled due to low census. I'm afraid that I'll lose all of my shifts for the upcoming week as well.

Is there anything I can do in this situation? I know I should talk to management about this but in reality there is not much they can do since it is hospital policy to cancel someone if the census is low. Since I have been there only 4 months and this is my first job is it inappropriate to start looking for another one? And given the current crisis we are in I feel that this makes this extra difficult for me to find another position. I really do love my current job and don't want to leave but this lack of hours lately is not okay with me. Anyone who's been in this situation or similar, what did you do? I'm just a baby nurse who really wants to gain valuable nursing experience and a solid income. 😞 Thanks guys.

I work per diem and was furloughed a few weeks ago. I was also canceled for every shift the month before I was formally furloughed. My hospital is extremely slow, as fear of covid is keeping every non-covid patient away.

Chances are, you're not the only one being canceled. And if your unit is that slow, the other units may be as well. If there are busy units, the full time staff is likely to snap those shifts up (rightfully so). I recommend that you look into unemployment.

As per diem staff, I didn't think I would qualify, but after some thought I applied anyway, because I have no idea how long this slow-down will be for. I was approved for about $25 less than my full-time colleagues were, and I typically only worked one day a week instead of three.

Give it a shot. The worst case scenario is being denied.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

On 5/9/2020 at 9:48 AM, Heather Danielle said:

@PollywogNP No, I do not have benefits but my pay rate is significantly higher than that of a FT employee. I definitely am considering a departmental transfer within my hospital, I am just worried that being that I have only been on my unit since January it won't look good to other departments that I am transferring out already, plus I still don't have a lot of experience yet as a new nurse

And this is the risk of working Per Diem; by definition it is not guaranteed hours and you will always be first to be floated or cut.

Where I work, Full time 0.9 FTE employees have been cut to 0.45 FTE, part time 0.45 FTE employees have been cut to 0.25 FTE employees, and the per diem employees haven't gotten any hours to make way for the full time and part time employees, as it should be.

Likewise, I have many part time employees who work part time hours for the benefits of less holidays/weekends and more flexibility with their scheduling days, but actually work full time hours and sometimes overtime on a consistent basis. Normally, the risk of not getting more than part time hours outweighs the benefits and perks of being a part time FTE. However with our current low census, many of them are financially struggling because of that risk.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

In many to most hospitals around the nation even those in permanent positions are getting called off due to low census. Being per diem just makes you first in line. Their hiring new grads only per diem is a serious diversion from the usual and customary pathway for onboarding a nurse who is new to practice. Unfortunately, with the way things are right now, moving departments is going to be far easier than getting into a new institution due to hiring freezes

What I used to do when canceled from my unit was to call the nurse supervisor and tell him/her that I wanted to work and if they had ANY other needs that day. This worked because I'm an ICU nurse and I could float to any other ICU and I would also go to Step-down, Tele floors. Is this an option for you? Can you speak with the supervisor when they cancel you and ask if there are other needs in the hospital that you would feel comfortable floating to?

Go get a full time job at a nursing home. You will not get cancelled. They will even call you on your days off to see if your want any overtime.

Have you tried applying for an agency job? They have a multitude of shifts and different facilities available.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

18 minutes ago, NewRN'16 said:

Have you tried applying for an agency job? They have a multitude of shifts and different facilities available.

Unfortunately agencies now have an experience requirement (in order to maintain JCAHO accreditation). This might not be an option for a new grad.

OP, due to the current pandemic and people being furloughed, there might not be work on other units. Sounds like everyone is in the same boat. But it doesn't hurt to ask and to make yourself available to come in on the spot if called.

I imagine during normal times, working per diem was more reliable and lucrative. I suspect the hospital hires new grads this way because it cuts down on the whole probation issue. Easier to just cancel people who aren't working out.

I'm not implying this is what is happening to the OP. These are unusual times. It's just turning out that new grads in that hospital are in the same position as a lot of workers who are currently not able to work at their jobs.

OP, who makes the decision to cancel at your hospital? I realize that per diem nurses are the first ones called off, but on any given day, there is someone who goes through a list or process to call people and downstaff them.

Is there anyone you can contact to see if there's a way you can get more shifts?

Personally, I have control hours and a union, so I don't have to accept being downstaffed or put on call, no matter how low the census gets. However, I have 3 kids at home with no school or daycare, and I am in a financial position to not be paid for a while. Earlier this week, I got up early and called the staffing office to ask if I could be down staffed, and was. If I'm down staffed, it doesn't count as a call out for attendance disciplinary matters.

Maybe see if there are any control hour nurses in your department who would like to be called off, either to use PTO or to take a day unpaid. While I realize most people want a paycheck, there might be some who would happily take the chance to stay at home and not have it counted against them as a call out.

11blade, RN

Specializes in OR.

I agree with others-apply for unemployment benefits NOW in the state you are working in. You may not even be able to get through right now, but keep trying. Some states have a waiting period for benefits, so you want to do this soon. It may take some time to get paid. I was lucky this past week. I spent all day on the phone Monday, got a live person. I had applied on line, but the online website directed me to call. I was unable to get through until just this week. I got submitted Monday by the live person, then the computer had to update overnight..a few overnights. I requested payment on Wednesday and actually got a payment (6 weeks) on Friday.

Don't wait, you've earned that money!