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Is it wrong to turn down a shift?


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Specializes in CCRN, Geriatrics.

Nunya, BSN

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 39 years experience.

You need to learn to not answer your phone when you're not scheduled to work. I wouldn't even answer if I've just left work, if it's important (like asking if you did or didn't do something) they'll leave a message. Your phone is for your convenience, not theirs.

Lovethenurse2b25, ASN, BSN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in CCRN, Geriatrics.

13 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

In that case, I think it's perfectly fine to refuse. I would resist the urge to over-explain, though. It doesn't make sense to say you can't work Monday because you fear exposure, but to have no problem with working on Tuesday. Just say no, or don't answer.

Regarding quitting, that may be something you need to consider if your daughter's doctor suggests no covid patients and your unit is full of them. Although your circumstances are concerning, I don't think there's anyone who doesn't have some sort of concern for someone in their family. They may not be able to give you non-covid patients, only. And if they are willing and able, it's almost a certainty that the rest of the staff will get really angry and make short work of the situation.

Its my per diem job. They canceled my shifts for 3 weeks straight due to a low census. So I have not been exposed to anyone with Covid 19. The census is still low and now we are short staffed which I feel is kind of sketchy for them to call me after cancelling. Turns out employees have been testing positive.

Lovethenurse2b25, ASN, BSN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in CCRN, Geriatrics.

14 hours ago, caliotter3 said:

Where did you say in your original post that you were turning down extra shifts? Where in my post did I say that I am angry?Another example of people posting and then attacking others who respond based on what is written, not what is originally withheld information, that "magically" becomes pertinent when it is convenient. You are just as exposed on extra shifts as you are on scheduled shifts, so your argument is based on faulty reasoning. If your child's welfare were uppermost in your mind you would not be working on that floor for any shifts. After reading your subsequent talk backs, I am angry. Angry that you are exposing your child as much as you are.

Sorry for not elaborating more on the current situation. My child has not been exposed. In fact, I have not been to work in three weeks due to them canceling my shifts for a low census. When the facility called I was so eager to get back to work only to find out that the unit is all covid & numerous employees and new patients have tested positive. My supervisor stated they had covid patients for over two weeks. The census is currently still low and now employees are not showing up to work or either getting sick. Hence, why are deciding to call me into work now. I also don’t think droplet precaution is enough when we are expected to use the same blue mask.

Edited by Lovethenurse2b25

lifelearningrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

Your little girl's life comes first. You're not wrong for turning down the shift. What unit do you usually work?

I would consider asking for FMLA to protect your daughter through this time, if you can afford it.

100% your choice if you want extra shift or not and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

You are doing the right thing. No one signed up to care for infectious patients without proper PPE. You have every right to turn them down since you have a toddler with respiratory issues. Upper management can pound sand. They are mad because nurses are finally giving them the middle finger and telling them enough is enough.

On 4/13/2020 at 12:58 PM, Lovethenurse2b25 said:

For the past few weeks my shift at work have been canceled due to the recent pandemic. A few days ago I was asked to work but unfortunately turned it down because we have a entire unit of Covid-19 patients.

Heres the thing I have a toddler with asthma. Who is currently experiencing difficulties with her asthma due to the weather changes. In the past she has been hospitalized for 4 times for rsv causing low 02 levels resulting in more than a weeks stay.

While I would love to be on the frontline saving live I afraid to compromise my child. I dont have anywhere else to send her. Her pulmonologist told me to stay away from anyone suspected of having it.

My job feels as though I'm being selfish because they say its what I signed up for. I honestly would work if I had support.

What are your thoughts?

p.s. several workers have tested positive. The facility is using contact/droplet precautions.

You have an at risk child....your priorities are correct!

dinah77, ADN

Specializes in Tele, OB, public health. Has 8 years experience.

No, you are not doing anything wrong. I see the “prioritize your job over family” chorus has already commented. Really gross of them.

dinah77, ADN

Specializes in Tele, OB, public health. Has 8 years experience.

On 4/13/2020 at 4:03 PM, Naturally Brilliant said:

You're certainly doing the right thing in prioritizing your child over your job. Family is forever. A job is merely a fiduciary relationship, and your loyalty to your job only extends up to the job description. If I were in your position I would have no qualms about quitting or even getting fired (though the former is preferable over the latter).

Develop a mercenary attitude about your labor. Realize that (unless you're in a union-linked facility) you are almost certainly an at-will employee and can be let go for any reason - or no reason at all - by the hospital administrators. They will not care one bit about what is morally right or wrong. They will only care about their own interests. Do the same with your own life.

Here in America, the media and the elites running this country have a vested interest in manipulating you into loyalty without ever being equally as loyal to you.

Oh hey! Always happy to see your comments. I’ve begun to feel like I’m one of the few pro labor nurses on here. It’s frightening to me how many of our colleagues have allowed themselves to be duped into loyalty to employers over themselves.

also, love the idea of a mercenary attitude towards work. I already have one but I’m stealing that phrase


Specializes in Supervisor. Has 9 years experience.

Uhh no. It's not wrong.

Your safety and the safety of your family trump extra shifts.

They'll find another poor soul and swindle them with shift bonuses to pick up.

Enjoy your health, happiness, and your family.

Ditch any guilt you may feel.


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

17 hours ago, dinah77 said:

No, you are not doing anything wrong. I see the “prioritize your job over family” chorus has already commented. Really gross of them.

I just had to go back and reread all of the posts...unless I missed it, I didn't see a single person advocate for prioritizing the job over OP's family? I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion.

I'm sorry you're going through this. My hospital system (central Texas) has put practices into place for staff to request re-assignment to non-Covid units r/t personal or family risks (if the staff member is or lives with a family member who is high risk - like your daughter): fill out a personal risk form with our Pandemic Command Center and they will work hard to re-assign you according to your capabilities. If that can't happen (for example, you work ICU and all of our ICUs have Covid patients right now), then you can immediately qualify for FMLA (if your private PCP won't do the paperwork, one of our system MDs will), and this time off will not take from your PTO bank and will not have negative consequences down the road. This applies to full-time, part-time & PRN staff. I feel very lucky to be in a hospital system like this. I work very closely with 1 nurse (in her 70s with DM) who has taken up this offer for the past few weeks with no return yet in sight, as our city expects our peak in 2-3 weeks. My very small unit also has 1 nurse out Covid + and 1 nurse out Covid suspected right now.

We are not allowed to do extra shifts right now per our hospital system to promote our own rest and well-being - we have internal and external agency nurses & techs to cover shortages. Typically, overtime is easily available, so this is a Covid related change.