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Tips for taking call?


Hi Nurses.

I just accepted a job where I will be taking call one night a week.

I have taken call only once in my career- It was for a brief period of time, and over 20 years ago.

Other than obvious things- like always having clean scrubs ready, and gas in the car, what are your your tips for taking call?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom!

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Do you have a pager, or will they just call your phone? My last job, I took call every third weekend, and one weeknight per week. We had pagers. I would keep the pager under my pillow so I wouldn't disturb my husband and child.

The customer service cash register at our local grocery store makes the same noise that my pager did, and even now, whenever I hear it, my stomach drops a little.

But other than the things you mentioned, I don't have any advice. Good luck! What is the job?

CelticGoddess, BSN, RN

Specializes in Palliative, Onc, Med-Surg, Home Hospice. Has 6 years experience.

Always assume you are going to be called in. I have to take call 2x in 6weeks (I'm PRN). I was on call one day, and didn't get enough sleep. Guess what happened? You got it, I was called in. We are on call from 7pm to 11pm, which just means that they can call us at 4pm and tell us we need to be in by 7pm.

And make sure your phone is on. (I didn't do that but one of my co-workers did).

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

I have a certain ring tone for my facility- very loud so that it actually wakes me up. Fortunately, it's just me so I don't have to worry about waking anyone else up. Make sure your phone is charged, make sure it's not on vibrate, and stick to your usual routine (bedtime and things like that).

I will be taking call for inpt dialysis. I have not started yet, so I don't know if I'll have a pager or use my own phone.

I live alone, so I won't have to worry about anyone else being woken up.

Designating a special ring just for the hospital is a good idea. Last time I had to take call, there was no such thing as a cell phone.

When I took call for hospice I did these things on weekend call: I had a couple of clean scrubs ready, kept extra snacks and water in my purse, put my phone ringtone on an obnoxious barking option, I would take naps whenever I could during my down time, and checked my tire pressure before call.