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On Call?


Hello all!

I've been a nurse for almost 5 years, generally med-surg floor nurse. I like it for the most part. I'm good at what I do, I organize my time well, and I love caring for people.

Recently I moved and with the move came a new job. I went from working 8 hour shift at a small hospital to 12 hour shifts at a very large hospital... aaaand it sucks. The 12 hours kills the arthritis in my knees. I'm pulled to night shift often because of staffing needs. They keep saying it will get better and it's not. I'm one of the lowest on the totem pole, so I feel like i'm getting jerked around a lot more than everyone else. Changing my sleep schedule so often is killing me. Out of frustration, I started applying to other jobs and somehow came across an apheresis clinic nurse job. Monday to Friday, good company, I thought "Why, not?" I interviewed, and they loved me.

Their offer of pay was almost he same as the hospital job. Awesome. But there is on call, and I don't know how I feel about that. I would be on call every 2-3 weeks according to the hiring manager, with an extra $3. I have no children, so that's not an issue. I am going back for my Masters program, but it is online. I guess my question is, what is on call like? I feel like I have a good grasp on the apheresis part (I shadowed someone for a few hours after the interview, looked at the machines, patients and was made aware of the very intense training involved -- I'm a fast learner that loves learning new things, so that's not a problem). I applied for a M-F clinic job in the hopes of not getting jerked around schedule wise so much. Based on that notion, is on call night a good idea? Was it a deal breaker for some of you guys?

Thanks for any input you can give me!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Some people don't mind being on call, but I hate it and will avoid it whenever possible. A few dollars an hour is not enough for me to feel good about putting my personal life on hold. What if I want to go to the movies and get called in halfway through? What if I want to have a few drinks? I'm either working, or I'm not ...and I don't work for $3 an hour.

When you say every two to three weeks, how long does the being on call last? If it's one day every three weeks and you love everything else , it might be worth considering.


Has 36 years experience.

Get in writing how often you will be taking call. Get in writing what happens if you work normal hours, end up, because of being on call, working a lot of hours that night, then are you expected to work your full shift, regular hours, the next day? Or can they give you off or go home early that day? Get in writing who makes the call schedule, how do you ask to not be on call certain days.

I don't know anything about apheresis, how often the on call nurse is called, how long it normally takes, etc. My experience is from taking PACU call.

I worked for a smallish surgery unit and had no problem being on call, but I know of the issues/problems, that can come up.

I would be on call for an entire weeks every two or three weeks or so. So yeah... dunno if worth it.

You basically said everything I was thinking but wasn't saying to myself. Thank you. Being on call scares me, and I don't want to hate it. I like my social/personal life. And a few drinks frequently.