last minute call in

Nurses General Nursing


How does your facility ensure patient coverage when you have an employee or employees call in within a couple of hours or less of their scheduled time for work?


1,961 Posts

Um, they don't really. I mean, if people were called off due to low census, they'll usually leave 1 or a few or all (depends on how many) on call. But if it was a day we were even to begin with, and there are call-offs, we're screwed. Once the day people start coming in, they'll usually try calling some per diems, but charge people don't like to call people at 4 or 5am to see if they'll come in. So we usually wait until 11am for help.


jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

They don't.

And I hate to see the whole facility run with 1 nurse. (Small facility~patient cencus was 61 last night.)

Sometimes, it can get pretty hairy.....

alkat, They don't cover late call-outs.. We work short-handed and as usual, the patients suffer...I work on a medical/surgical floor..The toughest area to work in !!! Linda


279 Posts

We have mandatory overtime. The lowest senority RN has to stay until coverage comes.



753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.

According to hospital policy, they don't HAVE to pay them their pto/sick time for that day if you don't call in at least 2 hrs prior to shift

soooo, this discourages last minute call-ins

beyond that, either pull from another floor or work short.

Specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.

Our contract requires 1 hour notice for day shifts and three hours notice for nights or evenings. Then you are marked ill and get paid for that time (if you have sick time left!) Otherwise you are marked asbsent, do not get paid, and this is considered a black mark on your remployee record - even more than excessive sick time.

Generally, people do not call in "absent" unless it is a dire emergency - and then the float pool will try to find us someone or we work short or our CRN will take a patient load. Heck, just filling regular shortages and sick calls is hard enough without short notice calls!


992 Posts

Our policy is that you are suppose to call in 2 hours before you shift starts. Most people usually abide by that, but occasionaly you just don't know that you are that sick until you get up (or until your child gets up). If I am feeling puny that night before, I will go ahead and call in for the dayshift. I usually tell the supervisor that if I get to feeling better, I will call back in the morning. We have two co-managers and they are pretty decent about pitching in and helping. Sometimes we do get a heavy load. I have absolutely no problem calling the chain of command if I need help. I think by golly they get paid to help me. I don't usually cry for help and can usually manage 8 med-surg patients on the day shift. But if I am calling for help, I better get it. :( I have even called the head DON for help. :D I work on an unit and shift that you can pretty much bet that if someone is calling in it is a legit call-in. Getting back to the original question, the supervisor tries to get help and if not one of the managers usually end up working the floor.

True be told there are few alternatives when someone calls in at the last minute. That's why there are set times to call in by.

Despite what most staff nurses think, there's not a hospital I know of that has a pool of nurses just sitting sround waiting to come in at the last minute and work.

The notion that you can just call an agency and get a nurse is a pleasant one but unrealistic. I live in a major metropolitan area and the nurses that work agency work for several agencies. Every agency tells every hospital it contrats with that it will be able to meet their staffing needs. What are they going to say: we're pulling from the same pool of nurses as the other 60 agencies in the area and your chances of getting a nurse from us are slim and none under the best of circumstances. Get real, the agency is going to make themselves look as good as possible. The truth comes out soon enough when they either provide nurses or they don't, or they proide the nurses that are chronic "do not sends" with every hospital in the area.

Nurses like to think they're screwing the hospital when they call in or call in late but in reality they're just sticking it to their co-workers who have to suck it up and work short--again.

our hospital policy is that you have to call off 2 hours prior to the start of your shift or it is considered a late call off.

Originally posted by alkat

How does your facility ensure patient coverage when you have an employee or employees call in within a couple of hours or less of their scheduled time for work?

heck, they can't even ensure that we are covered when we don't have any call offs.:rolleyes: :eek:


104 Posts

We have an on-call nurse... We sign up in 4 hour increments voluntarilly, and it's rare that we don't have someone on call. We can call that nurse if we have a sick call, get swamped, or if someone needs to go home suddenly....basically, they're on call just for about anything. We're paid half our hourly wage to be on call, and if we're called in, we're paid double our hourly wage. Gives us a nice perk to be willing to do it! Yeah, it's a pain to have to go in at 0430 and have to be there within 40 minutes time, but heck.... it's not often you get called at that hour, either...

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts

If you work in any other profession you call in sick if you are sick. Period. With nurses, it's "how could you do this to us, we're already short...." In other words, we should never be sick or have emergencies. We ar nurses, not human being to them.

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