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Jacked Up Schedules in the OR

by tarheelrn2000 tarheelrn2000 (New) New

I'm fairly new to the OR (about 1 year in). I've been a nurse for 10 years and decided to apply for my hospital's Periop Internship Program. When I was accepted, I was told that they were hiring us for off-shift. I didn't have a problem with this and after working night shift for about 7 years I wasn't looking forward to getting up at 5 am anyway. So I sort of finished orientation about a month ago (they're so short staffed that none of us were able to finish the remainder of our rotations) and now I'm working off-shift but my hours change every week (9am-7pm, 11am-9pm, and 3pm-11pm). I think this is outrageous and half the time I don't know whether I'm coming or going. To top it off, the charge nurses are always asking if you'll come in early or come in to work 7am-3pm. AND, I'm still expected to take 48 hours of call per 6-week schedule. Is anyone else out there working 3 (or more) different shifts? I asked my boss if I could just rotate between only 2 of those shifts or change my hours from 9am to 9pm to ensure that they have coverage during the later hours. She hasn't responded to or acknowledged my request (she's a horrible manager who is unapproachable most of the time). I'm ready to quit but my co-workers are telling me to "tough it out" and that it will change after the new periop interns complete their rotations. My fear is that they're so short the new periops will get day positions or quit, and I'll be stuck rotating every week along with some of my other co-workers. What do you think?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Everybody but the permanent second shifters where I work is required to do 5 off shifts per 4 week schedule. It can be anything from 11-19, 11-21, or 15-23. They may not all be in the same week. What were you told at your interview? Did you get anything in writing? What do your staffing bylaws state? All of these requirements are spelled out in ours, along with call (sign up for one 8hour shift per week or risk getting assigned wherever there may be an open slot). Weekends, per bylaws, can be any combination of three shifts (all call- not common; 1 work 2 call; 2 work 1 call; 3 call-not common).

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

Which shifts do you prefer to work? I would print out all of the emails that you submitted requesting to work either of the 2 shifts that you wanted and then call your manager. Ask for a time when you can meet. I understand about managers that are either absent or don't respond...it is annoying as heck. Have these emails in hand when you meet with her and tell her that the schedule you are working now is unreasonable (because it is!) but that you are willing to work X and Y shift. ORs typically need coverage the most at 1500 and at 1700. Use that to your advantage when you are pleading your case. Say that you want to be a team player by covering these shifts.

I think your biggest hurdle is that you can't seem to get your manager's attention. Is her office near the OR? If so and if she is in the office one day (after you have already called and requested a time to chat), pop your head in and tell her that you know she is busy, but that you would like to set up a time to talk about your schedule. She will either talk to you right then or look at her calendar to see what time suits her best.

Good luck to you!


Specializes in OR. Has 13 years experience.

We do have a few staff who rotate shifts--but when the 4 week schedule is posted, they know what ONE week they will be working different hours. They are actually the staff assigned permanently to 9a-5p and 11a-7p. Due to a number of reasons (including a few leaves of absence that are TEMPORARY), they were asked if they would mind working some 7-3 shifts. So they take turns on the 7-3 spot (they can't post the 7-3 for anyone to apply for since valid LOAs are in place), but still get that 7am staff to fill the holes. But again, the schedule is posted very clearly and there is no question as to when the shifts will change on it--and if those affected need to trade amongst themselves its not a problem so long as the hours are covered.


Specializes in Operating room..

Welcome to the OR. I work when they tell me. It's not a good job for some people that can't flex their schedules easily (kids, school, etc). Thankfully I have no life. I take 15 days of call a month. You really give up a lot to work in the OR. I do love it though. Tell your boss you are unhappy, read the policies and see if this is written down and whether they can work with you. Good luck.

I know what you mean- I di the same program in 2001. The "F" shift is a pain for several reasons- parking, traffic, etc. The best you can do is wait it out. Working off shifts there has its advantages. Working 8 hour days is usually only for the service nurses and can suck in its own right. I had to leave in the middle of an OH case to move my car from the Dean DOme to another parking lot to avoid getting towed.

Overall the OR in which you work is like every other place but is a good place to be.

Oh and your afternoon charge is sooooo much better than the person she replaced. I would be scrubbed in at 7 and at 1830 she would call in and say "yeah- I have no one to replace you". Eileen is better than the old charge RN.