'Taking Call? Am I missing something??

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published

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I'm interested in a job that would require call one day a week. There is no rotating call for this one day; it would be required of only me only every single week. I've never done call before so not sure how it works. But to me it appears that I'm basically working for free this one day per week. I can't go anywhere or do anything on this day so basically I'm working yet not getting paid. Am I missing something here?? I'm OK with rotating call but not weekly required call. It just seems excessive and odd. What do you think??

JBMmom, MSN, NP

4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

Our hospital's on-call positions include a small hourly wage (I think $4.50/hr) with the understanding that if called you will be at work within 30 minutes and then you are paid time and a half for the hours worked. It's a way for hospitals to have staff available without necessarily paying someone to sit somewhere making full wage but potentially without any work. My department doesn't have it, but I don't think that weekly is out of the ordinary. 

klone, MSN, RN

14,785 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

I would be very surprised if they pay you nothing. Most places pay a few bucks/hour for call.

 

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

1 hour ago, Calbrunette said:

I'm interested in a job that would require call one day a week. There is no rotating call for this one day; it would be required of only me only every single week. I've never done call before so not sure how it works. But to me it appears that I'm basically working for free this one day per week. I can't go anywhere or do anything on this day so basically I'm working yet not getting paid. Am I missing something here?? I'm OK with rotating call but not weekly required call. It just seems excessive and odd. What do you think??

I despise being "on call", and a weekly requirement would be a HUGE con to me. It does pay a few dollars an hour, typically ...but nothing worth what it requires.

Unless it's an OR position, it's also suggestive of poor staffing IMO.

Calbrunette

68 Posts

I'm assuming the position would pay the usual $2-$5 per hour that most call pays but that obviously isn't the same as what I'm earning per hour as an RN. I feel like since my day isn't my own that I'm working for almost free. If I wanted to have an additional entire day of my week eaten up by work, then I would work a job where I earned a normal wage. 

On 12/18/2020 at 5:48 PM, klone said:

I would be very surprised if they pay you nothing. Most places pay a few bucks/hour for call.

I'm sure it pays the usual few dollars per hour for call. Not a regular wage. 

klone, MSN, RN

14,785 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

Welp, then it sounds like you should pass on the job. They are up front at what the expectations are, and you do not find them to be acceptable. 

You did not specify what exactly the call was - is it for a full 24 hours? 12 hours? 8 hours? What type of facility/department is this?

Calbrunette

68 Posts

2 hours ago, klone said:

Welp, then it sounds like you should pass on the job. They are up front at what the expectations are, and you do not find them to be acceptable. 

You did not specify what exactly the call was - is it for a full 24 hours? 12 hours? 8 hours? What type of facility/department is this?

It's one of the specialty departments in a hospital. 10-hour shift. And the call requirements stated in the interview are not at all what was stated in job posting. Having never done call I just don't know what's normal. 

Nunya, BSN

771 Posts

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt.

I'm confused.  Are you the only one that's required to take call?  Is it the same day each week?  Does it get assigned to you by the scheduler or do you self schedule?  I've worked places where call is anywhere from 2-3 times/month (military) to once every 6 weeks (civilian).  Hated it all.  This whole be a hard pass for me, every week is too much.

JKL33

6,760 Posts

I suggest thinking about it like this:

(#call hrs. x $/hr) + (# regular hrs. x usual hrly wage). Divide total by total # hrs (call + regular).

This is the basic average hourly wage you are earning. Is that acceptable to you or not?

I would have to find that number acceptable, because nothing more than that is owed to you. You may get more if you are called in while on-call, but that won't be guaranteed and no matter what they say about the likelihood of you earning a full wage that day, they are under no obligation to make sure that you do.

ETA: Understand that for a business to keep someone on call is to literally bank on the chance that they won't get called in. One way or the other, they understand that having you on call is likely to cost them less over the long run than to pay you your regular wage for a full day.

Calbrunette

68 Posts

1 minute ago, Nunya said:

I'm confused.  Are you the only one that's required to take call?  Is it the same day each week?  Does it get assigned to you by the scheduler or do you self schedule?  I've worked places where call is anywhere from 2-3 times/month (military) to once every 6 weeks (civilian).  Hated it all.  This whole be a hard pass for me, every week is too much.

I'm the only one that would be required to take call on this particular day (the one day the department is closed). So yes, I would be the only one that has to take call in the entire department. It's the same day every week. I have no problem doing it on a rotating schedule but not as an assigned day each week. 

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

1,476 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.
14 hours ago, Calbrunette said:

I'm the only one that would be required to take call on this particular day (the one day the department is closed). So yes, I would be the only one that has to take call in the entire department. It's the same day every week. I have no problem doing it on a rotating schedule but not as an assigned day each week. 

But do other people in the department have a set day that they take call on other days? If you are the only person who EVER has to take call, that would definitely be a no for me.

Specializes in Hospice.

I'm a hospice nurse who has one night of call of week and rotating weekends. I realize this is a different perspective... but I really like having a consistent day of the week I'm on call versus changing/ rotating days. It allows me to plan around this so much easier.

Where I work, there's a small amount paid for the call shift however any time worked is at time and a half. 

I would get more details of the call aspect - find out if there are time response requirements and how often people get called in. Both of these factors would impact my decision making. 

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