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Notified of call before being on call

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by rlgiv rlgiv (Member)

rlgiv specializes in ER.

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DisneyNurseGal has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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7 hours ago, myoglobin said:

Again, the issue ( at least for me) is the expectation to answer the phone not the obligation to come in. It’s simple if I am on call starting at 0700, then call preferably by 0500 and leave a message and I will show up at work on time by 0700. There should not be any expectation to answer the phone.

So if your employer needs you to be there at 0700 you don't think the unit has the right to have the peace of mind that you will be there at 0700?  When your turned your phone on at 0630... IF they had left a message and told you to report to work by 0700 could you have made it in time?  I highly suspect not.

My unit if you are on an on call shift, and expected at 0600, they start calling at 0430 (1630) they call every 15 minutes until they speak to me.  If they can not get a hold of you, the hospital needs to rearrange staffing accordingly. This is a patient safety issue (staffing), not to mention common courtesy to answer your phone.

Let me flip it around, lets say you were scheduled to work at 0700, and your unit needed to put you on call due to low census.  Wouldn't you be furious if you drove all the way into work only to find out that your job didn't want to bother you with a phone call outside of your scheduled hours?

Would you rather they have called you a hour before the shift?  I guess i'm just not understanding what's the problem with answering the phone?

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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At every place I've worked being on-call starting at 0700 means the earliest you can be called is 0700, if the required response time is 30 minutes then the earliest you could be expected to be at work during a 7a-7p on call shift would be 0730, if they need you there by 0700 then on-call time would need to start at 0630.

This is different from stand-by time, such as where you get low census, you're typically standby until the beginning of the shift, then on-call after that.  That means that if you get called at 0530 and given low-census but on standby/call then you could be called at 0600 and told you need to be there at 0700. 

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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55 minutes ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

So if your employer needs you to be there at 0700 you don't think the unit has the right to have the peace of mind that you will be there at 0700?  When your turned your phone on at 0630... IF they had left a message and told you to report to work by 0700 could you have made it in time?  I highly suspect not.

My unit if you are on an on call shift, and expected at 0600, they start calling at 0430 (1630) they call every 15 minutes until they speak to me.  If they can not get a hold of you, the hospital needs to rearrange staffing accordingly. This is a patient safety issue (staffing), not to mention common courtesy to answer your phone.

Let me flip it around, lets say you were scheduled to work at 0700, and your unit needed to put you on call due to low census.  Wouldn't you be furious if you drove all the way into work only to find out that your job didn't want to bother you with a phone call outside of your scheduled hours?

Would you rather they have called you a hour before the shift?  I guess i'm just not understanding what's the problem with answering the phone?

When I am on call (two times in my 11 year nursing career) I get up at my regular time (about 90 minutes before being at work). If my work has called and said they need me I show up.  I might even call them just to confirm. However, my phone is never turned on for incoming calls. Short of the Lord utilizing miraculous powers, or perhaps the NSA, no one calls me. Since, I've had a cell phone (ten years) I've maybe taken 10 incoming calls (my significant other and son). Even they know to leave a message or text.  

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Luchador has 5 years experience as a CNA, EMT-B.

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5 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

So if your employer needs you to be there at 0700 you don't think the unit has the right to have the peace of mind that you will be there at 0700?  When your turned your phone on at 0630... IF they had left a message and told you to report to work by 0700 could you have made it in time?  I highly suspect not.

My unit if you are on an on call shift, and expected at 0600, they start calling at 0430 (1630) they call every 15 minutes until they speak to me.  If they can not get a hold of you, the hospital needs to rearrange staffing accordingly. This is a patient safety issue (staffing), not to mention common courtesy to answer your phone.

Let me flip it around, lets say you were scheduled to work at 0700, and your unit needed to put you on call due to low census.  Wouldn't you be furious if you drove all the way into work only to find out that your job didn't want to bother you with a phone call outside of your scheduled hours?

Would you rather they have called you a hour before the shift?  I guess i'm just not understanding what's the problem with answering the phone?

Is she getting paid to be on call from 0500 to 0700 or doing it for free?

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On 6/6/2019 at 2:34 AM, NoctuRNal_UnicoRN said:

It is appropriate to call someone before their shift, if parameters are clearly defined and expectations are understood. At one facility I work for, we are notified an hour before our shift if we will be getting put on call... Most people are awake an hour before their shift, so this is acceptable. ...This basically eliminates the need to notify the call person to be there right at 0700, because staffing would know they were needed and would never make the phone call to put the employee on call. Once called, we have either 20 minutes to a half hour to get there depending on the facility. So, if we're called in at 0701, we have until 0731 to punch in at the one facility. 

This sounds like the way call works at my hospital.  We are scheduled for our shifts, not scheduled for call, and if there is a low census, we may be down staffed or put on call, but only on the day of.   

We have until 2 hour before a shift to call in sick, so by 90 minutes before a shift starts, the staffing office knows pretty well what their staffing level is.  Then they'll start making calls in that timeframe to see if someone wants to be downstaffed or put on call.  Usually, if it's my turn, I'll get the call around 5:45 for a 7:00 shift.

Now, there have been a few times when I've been put on call, and received a call back almost immediately to come in.  Usually, it's because someone had an emergency late call-out.  There was one morning I was on call for about 10 minutes when they called back and had me come in.  As I was awake already, it was no problem getting in on time.  My hospital's on-call pay is minimum wage, paid for the whole shift regardless of whether or not we get called in.  So on that day, I got my regular pay for the shift, plus 8 hours of on-call, which is a bit over $10/hr in my state.  Not a bad compensation for 10 minutes of standby!

Also, we're union, so no one HAS to take call or downstaff. Therefore, if I say no I want to come in or I don't answer, they'll just move to the next on the list.

Personally, I prefer the pleasant surprise of the offer to stay home some mornings in my current system over the prospect of an unpleasant call to come in on a day I was hoping to have off that would come with scheduled call. 

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15 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

So if your employer needs you to be there at 0700 you don't think the unit has the right to have the peace of mind that you will be there at 0700?  When your turned your phone on at 0630... IF they had left a message and told you to report to work by 0700 could you have made it in time?  I highly suspect not.

My unit if you are on an on call shift, and expected at 0600, they start calling at 0430 (1630) they call every 15 minutes until they speak to me.  If they can not get a hold of you, the hospital needs to rearrange staffing accordingly. This is a patient safety issue (staffing), not to mention common courtesy to answer your phone.

Let me flip it around, lets say you were scheduled to work at 0700, and your unit needed to put you on call due to low census.  Wouldn't you be furious if you drove all the way into work only to find out that your job didn't want to bother you with a phone call outside of your scheduled hours? 

Would you rather they have called you a hour before the shift?  I guess i'm just not understanding what's the problem with answering the phone?

 

I have deleted a rather fine point-by-point rebuttal 😂 and will sum it up instead:

1. This post above demonstrates the common problem of subconsciously having one set of moral obligations for workers (especially nurses) and another for businesses. Example: Why in the world would the individual worker have a moral obligation to provide free services to meet the needs of a business, while the business does not have a moral obligation to pay for the services that it wishes to utilize (and that it apparently considers necessary or at least highly preferred) in order to be in business?

2. Anything, whatever it is, ceases to be qualified as a courtesy (which is something freely offered) at the point that it is demanded and people are punished for not providing it.

 

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DisneyNurseGal has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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54 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

 

I have deleted a rather fine point-by-point rebuttal 😂 and will sum it up instead:

1. This post above demonstrates the common problem of subconsciously having one set of moral obligations for workers (especially nurses) and another for businesses. Example: Why in the world would the individual worker have a moral obligation to provide free services to meet the needs of a business, while the business does not have a moral obligation to pay for the services that it wishes to utilize (and that it apparently considers necessary or at least highly preferred) in order to be in business?

2. Anything, whatever it is, ceases to be qualified as a courtesy (which is something freely offered) at the point that it is demanded and people are punished for not providing it.

 

Answering the phone hardly constitutes free services.  At the end of the day it is the employees responsibility to get to work for their shifts.  If your employer is NICE enough to give you a courtesy call to let you know you are needed for work then fantastic, otherwise it is the nurse's responsibility to get to work.  If you do not want to answer your phone early then don't, but you sure as heck better check in the proper amount of time that would require you to arrive for your shift at the scheduled time.

I have to park in a remote lot, and take a shuttle into work, which I do not get paid for.  I need to make plans for this when I am planning my day.  Seems to be my your logic, if I do not plan appropriately and am late to work because I missed a shuttle, than I am not responsible, because this is a my time, I am not on the clock; therefore I shouldn't be punished.

Sounds to me like the OP did not understand the obligations and expectations of her employer's on call policy.  As we can see from these posts, it is widely different from facility to facility.   Bottom line, is that if your facility has an expectation that you are to be at work at the beginning of your shift, phone call or no phone call, the employee has the obligation to be the grown up and get to work.

Lastly, I find it hilarious all of these posters who are rallying about work infringing on personal time, and "free services"; however, in most cases, these employers are not abusing bothering us on our free time. Not to mention there is not a single one of us who can say that every single minute of our work time as been spent on work things.  We all take/make personal calls, check personal emails, check the internet, or goof off with our co-workers.  Are these things bad... NO because it is what makes work tolerable.  So stop complaining about an occasional phone call that happens during off times, because we don't work in a 9-5 Monday-Friday field. 

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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4 hours ago, JKL33 said:

 

I have deleted a rather fine point-by-point rebuttal 😂 and will sum it up instead:

1. This post above demonstrates the common problem of subconsciously having one set of moral obligations for workers (especially nurses) and another for businesses. Example: Why in the world would the individual worker have a moral obligation to provide free services to meet the needs of a business, while the business does not have a moral obligation to pay for the services that it wishes to utilize (and that it apparently considers necessary or at least highly preferred) in order to be in business?

2. Anything, whatever it is, ceases to be qualified as a courtesy (which is something freely offered) at the point that it is demanded and people are punished for not providing it.

 

I just don't consider listening to a voicemail saying "We need you here at 0700" to be providing free services. That's just really bizarre to me.

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3 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

Answering the phone hardly constitutes free services.  At the end of the day it is the employees responsibility to get to work for their shifts.  If your employer is NICE enough to give you a courtesy call to let you know you are needed for work then fantastic, otherwise it is the nurse's responsibility to get to work.  If you do not want to answer your phone early then don't, but you sure as heck better check in the proper amount of time that would require you to arrive for your shift at the scheduled time.

 

If a "we might possibly need you" shift is considered "my" shift to the extent that I stand the risk of being penalized for not showing up at the start of the shift: Don't worry, I will show up at 0700 and punch in on time!!  I guess the employer can call the employee off if they want to. [Another topic for a different day!]

 

3 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

Sounds to me like the OP did not understand the obligations and expectations of her employer's on call policy. 

Actually it sounds like the manager didn't understand what policy did or didn't exist. Which is why the OP didn't get written up.

 

3 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

Bottom line, is that if your facility has an expectation that you are to be at work at the beginning of your shift, phone call or no phone call, the employee has the obligation to be the grown up and get to work.

Again, if it is "my" shift, no worries. I will be there. But it is disingenuous to call it that.

 

3 hours ago, DisneyNurseGal said:

 We all take/make personal calls, check personal emails, check the internet, or goof off with our co-workers.  Are these things bad... NO because it is what makes work tolerable.  So stop complaining about an occasional phone call that happens during off times, because we don't work in a 9-5 Monday-Friday field.

 

No way; Nope. That has zero to do with this. Most employers have rules against those things meaning that people can be punished for doing them if the employer chooses to punish them, and rightfully so. If employers choose not to punish for those things, that is their business choice, and if they let those things slide for their own reasons that has nothing to do with me. I do not spend any measurable amount of time on any of these activities individually or all put together. I come to work to do the work. I wouldn't be caught dead surfing the internet or checking personal email or making personal phone calls when not on break; or "goofing off" - and I am being serious when I say that. I am being paid to work, and it is usually all I have time to do anyway. If the unusual happens, well, there is always the endless stream of "educational" modules that I would choose to put a dent in rather than doing any of the activities you mention.

 

**

This entire topic hinges on whether or not one is going to be punished over something as far as I'm concerned. I've donated more time to my employers (for a variety of things) than I could possibly even estimate. In fact, as things have become more regulated over time and increasingly viewed in terms of "risk," I was one of those who was told that we have to punch in at times when I otherwise would have considered it just friendly/neighborly/good work relations to not necessarily demand payment for every little thing (staff meetings, other meetings, working on projects here and there, completing educational modules, etc., etc., etc.). So I'm not sure you understand anything about my personal philosophy or how these relationships would ideally function if I had my way. Each time I have given my professional time away, it has been my choice, offered freely in good faith, and I have done it to facilitate good working relationships or other intangible reasons that benefit me and happen to benefit my employers as well.

But when employers start demanding things and say they are going to penalize employees (who aren't even being paid for a particular thing) unless that employee gives them what they want, then--I don't know what else to tell you--the situation has changed!! That is very clearly something different! And clearly I am failing to understand why anyone would ever think otherwise.

 

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11 minutes ago, klone said:

I just don't consider listening to a voicemail saying "We need you here at 0700" to be providing free services. That's just really bizarre to me.

Does it facilitate business to be able to have things roll perfectly even when another one of an employer's employees cannot or does not meet their obligation?

Especially when not having a back-up plan constitutes at least some small degree of business risk for the employer?

Yes.

Is having another professional on back-up a valuable service? One an employer would not want to do with out?

Yes.

Then why would anyone think such a beneficial service is something that someone can demand for free?

Being responsible (obligated) to answer a call is a service that should be paid for if others want the benefit of utilizing it - - that's why they haven't (yet) become bold enough to command that people just stay on-call for free. People's time is their own, and if someone want to command what is done with it, there is an obligation to pay for the benefit of being able to do so.

Why bother paying someone on-call pay from 07-1900, when you (pl) could just declare that the person is responsible should you decide to call them? On-call pay is basically a meager token that serves to establish an obligation.

Maybe I just don't like the fact that what some of us used to do out of a sense of wanting to be excellent or wanting to help out our employer can be turned into yet another obligation. Another demand that must be answered or one will be penalized. It no longer can set anyone apart, it's just expected.

Bah humbug (!!!) to that.

If you want the truth, that's probably what my feelings on this are actually about.

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I haven't read through all the responses but I think there are two types of call being spoken about which clouds the issue. There's "staffing" call and "situation" call. When I worked in the ED the on-call was not to be utilized (theoretically) for staffing issues but was called in when the proverbial poo hit the fan and then would be released when things cooled off. This is "situational" and being called at 0500 would be unacceptable. I would expect to be paid on-call pay for those 2 hours. Now if the on-call nurse's purpose was to be back-up for potential staffing issues then it would not be out of the question to call them early if the expectation was they were coming in to fill a hole at a specific time for a specific shift. I would expect to be up and ready to go in if the need arose. 

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