DON after hours expectation

  1. Hello,
    I recently interviewed for a DON position and liked the facility and position but am concerned about after hour responsibilities. I have a family and an infant, I would not be able to be called in the middle of the night. I am also typically not available weekends due to family responsibilities. I'm not saying I would never be available but by and large I would not be able to come in during off hours. So, I was wondering if anyone who works for a LTC facility could give me some insight into how often a DON is called after hours? There is an ADON at this facility who said she gets calls at 1a from staff requesting vacation days and that would just not work for me. Any insight would be appreciated, TIA
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    About suey421

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 28; Likes: 2


  3. by   caliotter3
    It would be easy to put a stop to the 1 am calls about vacation time. Also, I've worked in facilities where the DON and ADON alternated on call. At least that cuts it in half. Furthermore, your senior RN on duty should be designated as the House Supervisor and should be the first person to field problems during night shift hours.
  4. by   suey421
    I agree, I would not take calls at 1a for vacation time that's insane it's even happening, but I just don't know what to expect in terms of being called during off hours. I would for sure implement a charge nurse situation who would be competent to handle issues on off shifts when I wasn't there, but the whole being on call is what I guess I'm not really understanding. Am I on call 24/7 half the time with the ADON? That's a lot of call. And what am I going to be called for? If it's once in a blue moon type a thing like they are evacuating the building or something ok fine, but I'm not sure what I would be called for or how often.
  5. by   chare
    The frequency of call you will be required to take, and what you would be called for are going to be specific to your facility. You really need to address these questions with whomever you interviewed with.

    Best wishes.
  6. by   suey421
    I plan to but was hoping for some insight in the mean time. Also, I'd like to know what the expectation is for other facilities. So any information on the call experience other DONs have had would be helpful which is why I post d here.
  7. by   Nascar nurse
    As the others have stated, it really is facility specific. I've worked in a couple different facilities and each has been very different. My current building is only 42 beds w/ low medicare census therefore the residents are pretty stable, I know everybody really well (and the staff knows I know everybody well - so no need to alert me about every little thing) and the night staff and I both have respect for each other during our own sleeping times (ie: no stupid night time phone calls for vacations). I do however have to take my turn on the weekend call rotation and it's not unheard of to have to go in and cover a on my weekend.

    Had another 100 bed facility w/ about 40% medicare - worked 12-14 hour days and not unusual to get a call before I even got home...and then multiple calls until I got back in the morning. That job did not last long.
  8. by   suey421
    Thank you, your experience with call is very helpful!
  9. by   djh123
    It depends on who 'important calls' get rotated to, and how often. I know at my former facility the DON got called quite a bit about all kinds of problems. Yeah, in some cases she *asked* to be called if certain things happened (such as a fall with injury), but I told co-workers more than once that I wouldn't have wanted her job, no matter how much she gets paid, and this was one of the reasons I said that.
  10. by   suey421
    Thanks, this helps a lot! I'm not so concerned with getting phone calls during the day but during the night would definitely be an issue!
  11. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from suey421
    I plan to but was hoping for some insight in the mean time. Also, I'd like to know what the expectation is for other facilities. So any information on the call experience other DONs have had would be helpful which is why I post d here.
    The only reason we used to call the DON in long term care was when a pt died. And I really didn't see the point of waking her up to say a terminally ill pt had died. why couldn't she be informed when she got to work at 0800? What was she going to do about it even at 0800.

    I never had a case when there was something unexpected or unusual about the death. Even then, what is the DON going to do? If there was a need for her to come in, that was different, but we never had this happen during my years in LTC.

    I could see calling if a staff member was missing or became ill and that situation was leaving the facility way too short-staffed. or if a family member became seriously belligerent and Security or police had to be brought in. Even then, I question the need to wake up the DON.

    You need to ask the question of the potential employer, OP.
  12. by   kbrn2002
    I am a little surprised that any DON would be OK with staff calling at 1 am to ask about vacation days. I can't say how other facilities handle after hours calls but we don't call the DON after hours unless it's important. An unexpected death, a fall with injury that requires an ER visit or a staff number becoming ill during work hours and even then we'd only call if there's not enough staff in the building to cover if we need to send somebody home.

    If you accept the job just make your expectations clear from the get-go what situations require you to be notified regardless of the time and what can wait until business hours.
  13. by   suey421
    Thank you! I feel the same and expect the job to have the same mentality about after hour call, I just wasn't sure if I was being unreasonable expecting not to be called unless absolutely necessary. I'm glad to know being called consistently at all hours isn't mandatory.
  14. by   suey421
    You're right! I felt those 1a calls were unreasonable and I will make my expectations for being called very clear. I have a family and a life which I think needs to be respected. Of course I would be there if the staff was in dire straights but I don't see why I need to be called during the night for most things I could just be updated when I come in the following morning. I'm glad to know this expectation isn't unrealistic.

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