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Mandate Fairness

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by ashagreyjoy ashagreyjoy (New Member) New Member Nurse

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I work in a 24 hour institutional setting, union contract, 8 hr shifts as an RN.

Our union contract is such that if there is a call off on the next shift, we can be mandated to a second full shift with ~ 3 hours notice, leading to a 16 hr shift unexpectedly. Everyone gets mandated eventually. Sometimes its a little brutal, but we are all in the same boat. Almost.

My problem is, my co-worker, after they were hired as permanent, has chosen to file an ADA dispensation for psychiatric reasons (they chose to disclose this, to everyone) disallowing themselves from being mandated to the next shift. 

Unfortunately, my schedule often mirrors this employee's schedule and often our 3rd nurse is agency/on call and cannot be mandated. So, if I am working with this particular employee, which is frequent, the mandate automatically falls on me. This particular individual is a favorite of the current direct manager, although they have numerous professional conduct problems and extensive attendance issues.

Just venting. Looking for any perspective. I am struggling with feelings of resentment toward my employer about all of the above. I will be attempting to change my shift assignment but there are no opportunities right now. Thanks y'all

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Geeze Louise.....I'd find some doc in a box, or Internet doc to give me a psychiatric dispensation.  

But personally I think the whole mandated 16 hour unexpected shift stinks...you guys voted on this in a contract?  Sounds unsafe for the nurse and the patient.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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The problem is not your co-worker, as tempting as it may be to blame her. It's natural and reasonable for any individual to look after their own needs.
The whole set-up sounds unappealing, to me. If I couldn't accept it and I couldn't change it, I'd leave for greener pastures.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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Who the **** thought that was a good thing to put in a union contract??  Sorry, that wasn’t your question.  

 I don’t work anywhere that thinks mandatory OT is a reasonable staffing practice.  Staffing the floor at random times is NOT my responsibility... my children are.  

If you can’t or otherwise don’t want to find a new job, honestly I would get an exemption too.. and encourage everyone else to do the same.  It has shown to be effective.  

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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All of the above.  Next time contract negotiations roll around, that clause needs to go.  Your coworker has figured out how to work around it for now, but to your detriment.

If you are getting mandated oftener than most of your coworkers, you may have grounds to file a grievance.  You will need to contact your rep and pore through the contract to find something they are violating by mandating you so often.

If this fails, you can get dispensation from your own doctor.  Even if you don't have a specific health problem now, how sustainable are these frequent mandates?  I'm sure your doctor can come up with something to put on paper to kibosh this.  If everyone does this, management will eventually have to think up a better staffing strategy.

And if all else fails, it might be time to look for a different job.  But the grass isn't always greener.  I'd be reluctant to give up a nursing job that is unionized.

Good luck.

 

 

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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It is always difficult when someone isn't pulling his or her weight (and this happens in all nursing environments). Sometimes it's worse than others, and your case sounds worse!

Some days I have to remind myself that fair is what happens in Dallas every year in the fall and take care of myself. What are your other options? Leaving seems tempting but that kind of mandated OT may be normal for where you are.

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Thanks for all of your perspectives. Reading your comments made me feel a lot better about the whole situation. There are other "plus" sides to this job which make it worth it right now. And you are right: what one individual decides to do is on them, not to do with me. And thats really the best way to look at it. If I really want to fix it I should get more involved with the union. Thank you!

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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On 3/25/2019 at 8:33 PM, Sour Lemon said:

The problem is not your co-worker, as tempting as it may be to blame her. It's natural and reasonable for any individual to look after their own needs.
The whole set-up sounds unappealing, to me. If I couldn't accept it and I couldn't change it, I'd leave for greener pastures.

Sorry, but while there is an organizational issue going on here that needs addressing, I wouldn't be willing to give total absolution to this co-snowflake... I mean co-worker.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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6 hours ago, Jedrnurse said:

Sorry, but while there is an organizational issue going on here that needs addressing, I wouldn't be willing to give total absolution to this co-snowflake... I mean co-worker.

I don’t have the perfect memory but seem to remember appreciating much of your posts... but I have to disagree with the notion that if you aren’t ok with mandatory OT it makes you a snowflake.

We are not children in industrial-revolution era London.  To be told you must work 16+ hours with no choice in the matter is just not acceptable.  

I know the “but I have kids” argument can be sticky... My own mind does go there because I have five of them.  That said, when I am at work I am at work.  My oldest daughter is an endurance athlete, very active in Nordic skiing and rowing.  The girl is one of the strongest people I know... so my heart hurt once when she called me in tears, saying “Mommy can you please come home?  I feel so sick and I don’t want to be alone”... but I told her I am sorry but I can’t do that, that I would be home in two hours.  Because at that time it wasn’t an emergency, and my responsibility was to my patient and my unit.

I agreed to work that day 1500-2330.  After 2330, hell yes my responsibility is to my family.  Staffing the unit above my FTE is not my responsibility.

My second answer to the “but I have kids” stickiness is I personally don’t limit my argument to kids.  Someone with elderly parents or pets or community commitments or needs to care for THEMSELF.... they too are responsible to work while at work, and responsible to their life after the shift is over.

Natural disasters happen, security lockdown happen... you can’t plan perfectly for that.  Sick calls happen all the time in every workplace.  This is NOT new information— therefore the organization should have an acceptable plan in place.  One that doesn’t involve professional false imprisonment, like agency staff, or required on-call hours for prn staff.  That could be a condition of prn staff — be available for a pre-determined schedule of on-call hours in addition to their minimum number of work shifts.  

A nurse who decides to do what should be the expectation — and not agree to the martyr mentality — is not a snowflake.  If every nurse demanded respect, this discussion wouldn’t be a thing.

Edited by Here.I.Stand

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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4 hours ago, Here.I.Stand said:

I don’t have the perfect memory but seem to remember appreciating much of your posts... but I have to disagree with the notion that if you aren’t ok with mandatory OT it makes you a snowflake.

We are not children in industrial-revolution era London.  To be told you must work 16+ hours with no choice in the matter is just not acceptable.  

I know the “but I have kids” argument can be sticky... My own mind does go there because I have five of them.  That said, when I am at work I am at work.  My oldest daughter is an endurance athlete, very active in Nordic skiing and rowing.  The girl is one of the strongest people I know... so my heart hurt once when she called me in tears, saying “Mommy can you please come home?  I feel so sick and I don’t want to be alone”... but I told her I am sorry but I can’t do that, that I would be home in two hours.  Because at that time it wasn’t an emergency, and my responsibility was to my patient and my unit.

I agreed to work that day 1500-2330.  After 2330, hell yes my responsibility is to my family.  Staffing the unit above my FTE is not my responsibility.

My second answer to the “but I have kids” stickiness is I personally don’t limit my argument to kids.  Someone with elderly parents or pets or community commitments or needs to care for THEMSELF.... they too are responsible to work while at work, and responsible to their life after the shift is over.

Natural disasters happen, security lockdown happen... you can’t plan perfectly for that.  Sick calls happen all the time in every workplace.  This is NOT new information— therefore the organization should have an acceptable plan in place.  One that doesn’t involve professional false imprisonment, like agency staff, or required on-call hours for prn staff.  That could be a condition of prn staff — be available for a pre-determined schedule of on-call hours in addition to their minimum number of work shifts.  

A nurse who decides to do what should be the expectation — and not agree to the martyr mentality — is not a snowflake.  If every nurse demanded respect, this discussion wouldn’t be a thing.

Yup. Staffing should be the responsibility of management. I'm referring to the "magical" ADA status that would allow one to work a full-time job but be exempt from mandating. I'm also reading between the lines of the other references the OP made to this person's work habits/behaviors on the unit. I don't buy this abuse of ADA. I guess we'll have to disagree.

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5 hours ago, Here.I.Stand said:

That could be a condition of prn staff — be available for a pre-determined schedule of on-call hours in addition to their minimum number of work shifts.

😅😂

Major PD sin.

Work for cash; no cash = no work.

Actually I don't know why anyone thinks they should be paid close to zero for providing a professional service to a corporation.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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On 4/2/2019 at 3:05 PM, JKL33 said:

😅😂

Major PD sin.

Work for cash; no cash = no work.

Actually I don't know why anyone thinks they should be paid close to zero for providing a professional service to a corporation.

It was just a thought... besides I have seen nurses who work in procedural areas, or on my unit who are ECMO trained, and who work home hospice all have on-call hours in addition to their scheduled hours.  I have myself been put on call when census is low but not low enough to comfortably cancel us

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