What to do if home is too far for ‘on call’?

Specialties Operating Room


I’m in a residency program (so locked in for another 18+ months) and I knew there would be ‘on call’ time once I was able to be on my own, which was fine with me!

However, since my program started, a major highway I *must* take to get there in time started undergoing construction. I was just in range to be OK to be at home and make it in time, but that hope is now totally lost.

My hospital is smaller, and while there are on call rooms, which I’m told are available to me-if MDs aren’t using them, but that’s rare/not something I can count on. 

Any ideas of what I can do? Call is required, 3 nights and 1 weekend day/month minimum. I won’t make enough being on call to pay for a hotel, and I can’t move (really, I can’t, I want to, but it’s just not an option at the moment).

 Most of my colleagues live in the opposite direction, so their commutes aren’t affected. And I’m not close enough with anyone yet to ask ‘hey can I crash on your couch once a week?’

I’m sort of stumped as to what to do. Has anyone else lived too far away? 






Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,638 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

Offer up your call for others to take. Sometimes offering a cash incentive helps. 

Make a friend who’s local and get to the point of being able to crash on their couch. 

See if you can get primarily 3p-7p or 3p-11p call shifts- some people would rather be on call overnight than in the evening when family is awake and has activities. Then you can still sleep in your own bed and find something to do local until off call- hang out in the library, a bookstore, a park when it’s warm enough, etc. 


20 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room Charge Nurse.

Ask your co-workers what others have done when they have lived outside the call time. It's a common issue and they should have a few ideas for you. When I mentioned I lived outside the 30 minute call time a few co-workers offered up their couches without having to ask.  

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, CCT,Emergency, Flight, OR Nursing.

I live an hour away from my hospital , so I try an do my call following my shifts (usually 2-4hrs of call following shift). When I do overnight call, its from 11pm until 7am and I usually stay at a Hilton Garden Inn near my hospital . Our Call pay is 1/2 our regular rate so being on call pays for the hotel room ( which is discounted for healthcare workers) and then some.  When I am on call on the weekend 7-15:00 or 15:00-23:00, I usually visit friends who live near the hospital who I don't see that often and kill time that way.

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