I Need Days Off for My Own Mental Health!

  1. I took a part time job because I wanted a part time job. I'm a new RN juggling a family as well. The problem I'm finding is evertime I have a day off, work calls and needs me to come in. Usually because another nurse has called in or left sick. Sometimes it's right after I've worked two 12's in a row with a difficult patient load needing constant attention and supervision and the thought of going back is unbearable. Most days I can't even have an unintterupted lunch break to eat and finishe my paperwork. So when I'm called in every week on my much looked forward to days off I feel completely stressed out and frustrated and then end up feeling guily when I say "No" and then end up not enjoying my days off.

    I know this issue isn't limited to psych nursing but any advice?
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    About PsychRN-Kris

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 55; Likes: 7

    15 Comments

  3. by   jetscreamer101
    Don't feel bad for saying no to extra shifts. It is not your responsibility to cover those shifts. If you had wanted full time, I'm sure you would have asked for it. If you burn out, they'll be one nurse short. That'd put them a little farther up the creek.
  4. by   rainy scarlett
    Don't feel bad...you are entitled to your time off like anyone else. It is the hospital's responsibility to adequately staff the unit...if you cover it every time they call it doesn't give them much incentive to increase staffing on your floor...just say NO...I am sorry I can't today. End of explanation.
  5. by   humglum
    Say no. Staffing isn't your responsibility.
  6. by   PsychRN-Kris
    Thanks....I feel better. I guess I don't want to be looked at as "not a team player"....and as a new RN it's been hard knowing when to say no.
  7. by   indigo girl
    Quote from PsychRN-Kris
    Thanks....I feel better. I guess I don't want to be looked at as "not a team player"....and as a new RN it's been hard knowing when to say no.

    This happens to a many "new' nurses. Get caller ID if you can't say no. You know, you don't have to be at their beck and call. You do have a life, and can conveniently not be home when they call. You have already proven that you are a team player so give it a rest now, and take care of you.
  8. by   karynfrances
    I also work part time in psych and have a young family to care for. Just remember the reason you took the part time work for - your family- and don't feel guilty, the people you work for can't give you back the time you miss out on with your family. I love my job but my motto is "Work to live , not live to work"!
  9. by   rn/writer
    To save your sanity, SCREEN YOUR CALLS.

    Get Caller ID, an answering machine, voice mail, and do whatever it takes to train your family not to pick up the phone and hand it to you.

    Your time off is yours. If you volunteer for extra shifts, great. Other than that, if staffing is inadequate, that is the facility's problem, not yours.

    When too many nurses are too accommodating about picking up extra hours, the administration has little motivation to find more permanent solutions.

    As long as you are fulfilling your FTE, you do not need to feel guilty about not filling holes in the schedule. No one benefits if you burn out.
  10. by   MoriahRoseRN
    Amen to that! I too started at a psych job as a new nurse with a young family. I am actually PRN. I get the calls, "can you come to work, and will you work for me"? I feel guilty for saying no, but I took PRN for a reason. I have gotten to the point that I am always a little nervous it is my job calling me and one of my kids might pick up the phone (yes I have tried to train them not to answer the phone). I have now started using a palm pilot to keep up with all my appt for my kids and other important dates. From now on if I can't check my palm pilot and be sure I don't have something going on that day, I will just say "no", or "I will have to get back with you on that", because I don't know what I or my family has planned for that day.
    Last edit by MoriahRoseRN on Feb 28, '07
  11. by   PsychRN-Kris
    Well, since my original post, I've gotten pretty comfortable saying "No" if it doesn't fit into my schedule. Caller ID is a life saver, but I totally relate about fearing one of the kids will pick up the phone....I've on several occasions yelled "DON'T ANSWER IT!!!" across the house.:wink2:
  12. by   limestone
    I have the same problem--part-time psych nurse age 59 who gets called on days off (have worked 72 hours in one week sometimes) and feel bad saying no as they are so short-staffed. I've been on my unit for only a year and hate to say no to other staff as they helped me get orientated there and taught me the ropes as I was new to acute care.

    I am learning to say no without an explanation--that seems to work best. Have to bite the bullet on this as nobody will look after me if I don't.

    Good luck to you on this!
  13. by   SoxfanRN
    For thos ethat have a hard time saying no: You can also tell your supervisors up front that you are not interested in doing OT or working extra. I know as a supervisor, I appreciated that so I didn't waste my time calling someone that was never going to come in.
    Last edit by SoxfanRN on Mar 20, '07 : Reason: spelling
  14. by   GooeyRN
    I love my caller ID. I also don't have an answering machine, so they can't keep leaving messages stressing me out. I only answer the phone if it is shortly after I got home from my shift. (In case the next nurse needed something clarified.) I give them a 2 hour window to call me for patient related questions. Otherwise, work will not be able to get a hold of me. Whatever it is they want, it can wait until my next scheduled day.

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