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Notified of call before being on call

Nurses   (4,135 Views | 58 Replies)
by rlgiv rlgiv Member

rlgiv specializes in ER.

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3 hours ago, LovingLife123 said:

I’m guessing they needed you at 0700, not to come in at 0500.  They probably had to report to staffing who was going to be there and you hadn’t responded.  Somebody may have called in for the 0700 shift and the night shift nurse needed to go home.  

If I’m extra or on call, I always call in around 0500-0530 to see if I’m needed.  If you don’t answer your phone until 0700, you might not get there until 0800-0830 depending on where you live and how long it takes you to get ready.

I think you are wrong. 

 

Well, if you tell someone they are on-call from 7a-7p, then 0700 is when call starts. If someone wants to avoid the delay you mention (and have the off-going nurse relieved on time despite the fact that one of your other employees has called in or you haven't planned for adequate staffing, which has absolutely nothing to do with the OP), then I guess you have people OC starting at 0500.

Better yet, if the employer has any reasonable expectation that the person is actually going to be needed, then state your expectation clearly; give them a head's up and ask them to be OC @ 0500 for the call-in (or staffing need) you are expecting.

Either way, the OP conducted him/herself properly according to their understanding. There is a distinction between that and blowing off one's agreed upon responsibilities. There's zero reason to not simply clear up the understanding, clarify policy if needed, and beyond that, give it a pass. This is exactly how decent people become frustrated.

Edited by JKL33

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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3 hours ago, LovingLife123 said:

I’m guessing they needed you at 0700, not to come in at 0500.  They probably had to report to staffing who was going to be there and you hadn’t responded.  Somebody may have called in for the 0700 shift and the night shift nurse needed to go home.  

If I’m extra or on call, I always call in around 0500-0530 to see if I’m needed.  If you don’t answer your phone until 0700, you might not get there until 0800-0830 depending on where you live and how long it takes you to get ready.

I think you are wrong.

 

Agree. In this situation, as house supervisor I would call you at 0500, and leave a message letting you know that we needed you to report to work at 0700, and request that you call or text me back to confirm that you received the message. If I didn't hear back from you by 0600, I would probably call you again to make sure you got my message.

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myoglobin has 12 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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Here’s the thing you can call me at 0500 or even 0200 to tell me that I will be called in that day (if I am on call). Just don’t expect me to answer. Instead, leave a message that you will need me and I will know to come in to work. Sleep is too precious and distractions already make sleep difficult for many.  If I am on call I assume that I will work and get up at my “regular” time. An employee shouldn’t be expected to get up earlier if they are on call than they would if they were scheduled to work.

Edited by myoglobin

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I agree with others' understanding, too. I don't think they wanted the person to report to work at 0500.

It's just that someone who hasn't encountered this a thousand times before (by the sound of it) had an entirely different understanding than the way we all know it typically works. There is ambiguity for those without much prior exposure, and  IMO this poster's prompt response indicates that this was a genuine misunderstanding.

I just can't imagine *this* being someone's biggest fish to fry. That's sad (aka ridiculous).

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myoglobin has 12 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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Anytime I have to see my manager let alone speak about a potential discipline issue that fish is a 1,000 pound Grouper. As for losing sleep and answering the phone maybe if my wife is in active labor, but short of that no way. 

Edited by myoglobin

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rlgiv specializes in ER.

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They wanted me in at 7. This is also a new manager. I am a 14 year veteran and I've never had a problem with this before. She wanted to write me up and I asked her to see the policy. She could not find it so after a few minutes she asked me to go get report from off going nurse then come back and we could finish our discussion. I used the opportunity to call human resources because I felt like I was being set up for failure. The HR person asked if I would like for them to call my manager. I said OK and after a few minutes returned. I came in just as she was finishing her call with HR. I could tell she was flustered and she told me that she would not be writing me up. But, as manager she could write a new policy and to expect it out at the next staff meeting.

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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Yes, you mentioned that in the OP. Writing you up seems like overkill. On the other hand, if you've been a nurse for 14 years, I would think that surely you would understand that being on call at 0700 means that you may be required to report to work at 0700, not that you start answering your phone at 0700. Did they not leave any kind of voicemail or message when they attempted to call you at 0500?

In your manager's situation, I would consider this a "verbal coaching" and document the discussion she had with you, and then I would advance it to a write-up if it happened again. And I would make darn sure the policy spells that out explicitly that you may be contacted at 0600 to report to work at 0700. And I would probably mutter and swear under my breath that I have to explicitly state that in the policy, because to me it would seem like common sense that your call shift starts at 0700, and if we need you at 0700, we should be able to reach you to tell you that we need you at 0700.

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Pixie.RN has 12 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

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I have worked in places where the call expectation is that you be available by phone to be summoned between whatever hours, and other places where you are expected to be available to fill a shift during those hours and would be notified in advance to arrive at the start of it. I think your policy needs clarification! 

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I agree with others. I don't know how long you've been in nursing but typically when you are hired, they should have explained to you what time they start placing calls for flexing/call shifts.

 When I am on call for my 7p to 7a shift, it is understood by everyone, clerks, techs and nurses that the charge nurse will start calling people at 5p for the next shift after staffing call at 430p. That gives everyone plenty of time to make it in on time for their shift. Now do we have to sometimes leave voicemails for people that don't answer? Yes, we just tell them to call back when the get the message so I know they'll be showing up for work. If I don't hear anything by 530-545, I will call again and/or text them. Just because your call starts at a certain time, doesn't mean that's the only time they're allowed to call you, otherwise no one would be at work on time. Plus the people working that should be getting off work would be mad, because they have to stay over since you weren't there on time. 

Now do I think that it warrants a write up, no. Most will just explain why they didn't respond to earlier calls and why they won't be in on time. But if I call you at 5p, leave a voicemail, and you don't get it until 0630 and are late showing up at 7p for your shift, that's on you not me. I gave you 2hrs to show up to your shift on time, vs when you are called after the shift starts, you have 1hr to show up.

Edited by oluchika
Adding info

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We "officially" call one hour in adv

ance of the person being needed. If they are on call @7a then we page @6a. If I'm the charge nurse though I will always give a heads up call/text as soon as I know they will be needed so they know it's coming. I figure I would like advance notice. Then they still get the official call in from the clerk. 

I would agree that your department policy needs clarification so everyone is on the same page. 

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myoglobin has 12 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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For me here's the key. You have to show up on time (if you are called in), but you don't have to answer the phone.  As a mater of courtesy you should call when you are headed into work, It's the whole "answering the phone" part being manadatory. That causes me distress.  Thus, normally if I were schedule to work at 0700 the drive takes me about 45 minutes so I would get up at 0630 and be on the road by 0650 (no breakfast as I practice intermittent fasting). Thus, if I awoke at 0500 to answer a call I would lose about 90minutes sleep (probably more because I would be "on edge" about possibly receiving a call).

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verene is a MSN and specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

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I would clarify policy, is the expectation be that you are on-call from 7am-7pm? Or that you are available to come in for 7am-7pm, if you are on-call  - in which case you could be notified before hand so that you make it in by 7am?

Where I worked as a CNA, the union policy required that Staffing/Charge RN  give at least 2 hours notice to employees being called in (or called off for a shift), if at all possible. So if I was on stand-by status for a 7am shift, it was normal for me to get a phone call between 4:30am-5am either confirming that I was coming in, or confirming that I would remain on stand-by status.

Current workplace management requires employees to give 4 hours notice if calling out sick (or else it counts against employee, unless total emergency situation like car crash on way in), and if you are on stand-by management will try to call ASAP to let you know, so if you need to sleep, or get ready, or whatever you can.

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