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Seniority and preferential scheduling

Nurses   (6,017 Views 55 Comments)

1MoreCoffee has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

588 Profile Views; 24 Posts

When I interviewed for my job, I was told that it was mandatory to work rotating shifts (either 7a-7:30p or 7p-7:30a), with a certain number of weekend shifts required per schedule period. The requirement being two weeks of nights and four weeks of days per six-week schedule period. I recently found out that certain nurses do not have to fulfill the night shift requirement, because they have seniority. Our unit director and clinicians work no nights or weekends. Those with seniority also get preference when it comes to vacation schedules and holidays off.

Is this a common arrangement? Is this fair? I am new to nursing, so I do not have experience with the concept of seniority. It should be noted that no matter how many years of seniority you have in my hospital, if you transfer to another unit, you will move to the bottom of the pile. Is it fair then? I personally don't mind fulfilling the requirements but knowing that other people don't have to doesn't sit well with me. I feel that this policy should have been explained in the interview, at a minimum.

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1,083 Posts; 7,570 Profile Views

I do feel that loyalty should be rewarded.  If you stay with a certain company or unit for years and have been a good employee, then yes, you should be given more accommodations than those just starting out.  Nursing needs experienced nurses on units.  Part of retaining the experience is special privileges.

That being said, id never do rotating shifts in any way, shape, or form.  It’s terrible on the body and mind.  There should be dedicated night shifters, and dedicated dayshifters.

 

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

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Yes, it is a common arrangement.  And seniority does have it's perks.    And I'm sure the people who have seniority now, had to go through the same thing when they started.  You were told the schedule in your interview, and I'm assuming you agreed to it.  It does sound like a lousy schedule, but it is up to you whether to take the position or not.  

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You agreed to terms for your relationship with the employer that were acceptable to you at the time, and it doesn't sound like they have changed.

44 minutes ago, 1MoreCoffee said:

I recently found out that certain nurses do not have to fulfill the night shift requirement, because they have seniority.

Which could also could mean nothing more than that the terms have changed since they signed their employment agreements, and the employer has chosen in this instance to continue those relationships on their original terms.

But even if it is a straight-up matter of seniority (put in your time and after X years of service you will be excused from the night shift obligation), that really isn't your concern either except to the extent that it applies to you and your obligations (or may eventually).

If the employer chooses to reward loyalty that is their business, just like it is their business if they want to offer a new grad a signing bonus for the same job that others are already performing without having received a signing bonus, or if they put a new grad through an expensive residency program that others performing the role may not have benefitted from.

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1MoreCoffee has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

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5 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

You agreed to terms for your relationship with the employer that were acceptable to you at the time, and it doesn't sound like they have changed.

Which could also could mean nothing more than that the terms have changed since they signed their employment agreements, and the employer has chosen in this instance to continue those relationships on their original terms.

But even if it is a straight-up matter of seniority (put in your time and after X years of service you will be excused from the night shift obligation), that really isn't your concern either except to the extent that it applies to you and your obligations (or may eventually).

If the employer chooses to reward loyalty that is their business, just like it is their business if they want to offer a new grad a signing bonus for the same job that others are already performing without having received a signing bonus, or if they put a new grad through an expensive residency program that others performing the role may not have benefitted from.

I am not unhappy with my schedule, and I did not complain about it. I was just curious as to whether this was common or not. Management was not straightforward about the seniority policy, so I have no idea if and when it will benefit me. I disagree with your assessment that it isn't my concern, because when working nights (as I do), we have no unit director, no clinician, and the least experienced nurses on staff in addition to fewer hospital-wide resources. If the entire shift consists of nurses with little experience (which happens), it can be problematic. As I stated in my original post, I am new to the field. I value the expertise of the nurses who have more experience than me.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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It's fair. It's common. If you're concerned that there are not enough experienced nurses working alongside the newer ones, that is a separate issue. As someone with top seniority on my prior unit, I preferred to work weekend nights.

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12 Followers; 3,682 Posts; 27,321 Profile Views

1 hour ago, 1MoreCoffee said:

I disagree with your assessment that it isn't my concern, because when working nights (as I do), we have no unit director, no clinician, and the least experienced nurses on staff in addition to fewer hospital-wide resources. If the entire shift consists of nurses with little experience (which happens), it can be problematic.

 

That is a different matter than what you wrote about initially, but we can talk about it if you would like. 🙂

ETA: Have you talked to your management to express your concern about lack of experience/support on the night shift? If so what do they say?

The problem here is that your employer has put themselves in a bit of a pickle. The perks of seniority are a side issue loosely related to the pickle they're in, but not the cause of it.

Edited by JKL33

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1MoreCoffee has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

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I agree - my post was not about why it affects me. However, you said that it wasn’t my concern, and I wanted to clarify why it does as relates to my ability to learn and do my job effectively as a novice. The senior nurses don’t control the policy, and I have no issue with them. 
 

To answer your question, I have not discussed this with management, but I will. I am in my night rotation at the moment, and as I said, management doesn’t work nights, so it will have to wait until I can discuss it in person. 
 

Thanks for answering me. It is good to hear how things work at other facilities. 

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mmc51264 has 7 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

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Our new manager wanted to do away with the longevity percs when she came on. We had a vote among the staff, excluding the nurses that it affected and we voted to let them keep their "benefits". There were only 5 nurses that it affected-all had more than 20 years on the same unit. It is not going to apply to those coming up (like anyone will be there than long-including the manager LOL). 

We felt that those few earned their stuff. They got choice of day/night shift, no floating, all have to work a weekend once a 2 week pay period, if needed. 

Everyone, after a year, gets to choose a preferred shift (day vs night) but I am surprised that many like to alternate between days and nights. 

I HATE nights and I negotiated during my first year an offer to work weekend days. I floated to our sister unit for 3 months to get my preferred shift/days. I am now weekend option nurse (Sat/Sun and one other day) and have been for almost 7 years. 

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1MoreCoffee has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

24 Posts; 588 Profile Views

4 hours ago, LovingLife123 said:

I do feel that loyalty should be rewarded.  If you stay with a certain company or unit for years and have been a good employee, then yes, you should be given more accommodations than those just starting out.  Nursing needs experienced nurses on units.  Part of retaining the experience is special privileges.

I understand the loyalty aspect, but let's not confuse longevity with being a 'good employee', because they are definitely not the same thing. 

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KJoRN81 has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN.

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43 minutes ago, 1MoreCoffee said:

I understand the loyalty aspect, but let's not confuse longevity with being a 'good employee', because they are definitely not the same thing. 

Oh god isn’t that the truth??

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Herecomesthesun specializes in Ortho-vascular nurse.

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It sounds like my opinion is unpopular, but I will share it. If I were a new grad and took this job, I'd probably be looking for something better within a year.

This may be "fair" but I really feel like your employer is setting up the nurses and the hospital for failure. I have been working night shift for 3 years, and Everytime I take vacation for over a week (ie start waking up at 7a and going to sleep at 10p) it takes my body at least 1 month to stop having jet lag, and readjust back to staying up all night. The process of reaclimating is intense for me. 

It sounds poorly planned to intentionally have large groups of sleepy inexperienced nurses on nights all the time. Sounds like they are just asking for med errors, or other serious incidents. Also sounds like they are going to have a lot of turn around. 

Why would a company do this? My best guess is that they are too cheap to offer a shift differential. Maybe with a differential they could establish a set night shift crew. I would be interested to hear other reasonings for this situation.

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