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What is it with nurses showing up late!


Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

Ok so I started a new job two weeks ago and yesturday was my first solo shift without a preceptor. I have been a nurse for 15 years but have been doing home care for the past 6 years. I have had a bad cold and sinus infection but didn't want to call off since I'm so new there. I work a 3 to 11 shift and I showed up on time which is my habit. The joke is the last time I was late was in 2001 when I found out I was pregnant.

It was a very busy shift and no one took a break. 11 pm rolls around and one nurse shows up on time. The one who was relieving me showed up at 11:45! By the time I gave report and did the narc count it was midnight. In my opinion this is just not right! No body has to wait on me so why should I have to wait on anyone else. It's not like I can just leave since there are patients involved.

Also what do you do when there are signed posted everywhere stating stating "Remember to take your breaks but the culture of the facility clearly shows nurses not taking breaks.

May be I'm too old for this?


At one place where I worked one was able to report off to the house supervisor, or floor supervisor and then leave, if the oncoming nurse had not appeared by a certain time.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Was this a one-time event? Or an ongoing problem? If you've only been there two weeks, you probably don't know for sure. I'd cut her some slack until I found out. It would be a shame to go off on her and then find out she was in an accident on the way to work or was flying back from her father's funeral and the plane was late or her dog just died. 45 minutes late is a bit too long for a chronic "It takes 15 minutes to drive to work so I'm leaving 15 minutes before I have to punch in" problem.


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

Used to work with a CNA that was always walking in at 1120pm for an 11pm shift ... always! For the entire 2 years I worked at that hospital. So unprofessional! Let alone the fact that he always slacked off when he could on shift and ironically was very diligent about taking his breaks too. This is also a reflection of bad management, which clearly existed.


Specializes in ICU. Has 4 years experience.

What the! 45 minutes late! Honestly, I think anything more than 5-10 minutes is pushing it and I would have been calling to find out where she was. My workplace starts calling after about 5 minutes past your start time. I once worked on another ward relieving for a shift though and the nurse I was paired with was half an hour late and nobody said a thing although she apparently did it all the time!

This happens a lot when there are no time clocks to prove otherwise.

If there are time clocks, this is something that your manager can track. And I am sure none too thrilled at having to pay you overtime with a night differential. How long is too long? If you are on a 3-11 shift, and have to stay until 11:30 for your meal time make up, (providing you get a 1/2 hour meal) if the oncoming nurse is not in by 11:30, I would call the nursing supervisor on call, state that there is a no call no show, and have that person take it from there.

Unless you have mandatory overtime, at which point, I would be so annoyed as the nurse coming in can't just call and say she is running late?

You bet your bippy I would put in for that time--you deserve to be paid. At the same time, the manager needs to deal with nurses coming in late--45 minutes is just rude--especially if there's no time clock, and she is being paid beginning at 11pm.

Sigh, I too am a little old for all that, my mother disciplinary/basic work professional behavior blurb has been learned by my own kids, and I just have little patience for adults who should know better, but don't and try to get away with stuff like this.

Now, if this is a one time "I overslept" or "my babysitter didn't show" or other stuff--then by all means I am not cruel to the junk that comes up and is unavoidable. But when one strolls in at 11:45 like they are queen o' the may.....yup, that would send me over the edge. I am wicked old, I am wicked tired, I am wicked cranky, can I please just go the heck home???? (Then I would be dragged into the mangers office for eating my young and bullying......Sigh.)

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

I took care of this problem with a nurse that was always late for her shift and by late I mean 30-45 minutes late she'd stroll in. I wrote report on the patients. Placed it in an envelope marked "report" and taped it to her computer. Of course I actually did a hand-off to the charge nurse but Miss I'll Show Up When I'm Darn Good and Ready didn't know that. Then I left. She called me at home with questions and I hung up on her (I called the charge nurse to let her know that she had called with questions so she could answer them...eventually). She tried to get pissy with me the next evening (when she showed up on time) but I pointed out that her tardiness was rude, against facility policy, she was going to be written up if it happened again and if she wanted report for me she'd better show up on time and ready. Never had another problem with her.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.


Most recent thread. People are late for a lot of reasons, cultural considerations, ADHD and not being able to read conventional clocks. I am not kidding. Check out that thread.

You will be interested to learn that things came to a head, management got involved, and the tardiness issue is no longer a problem. I did lose a friendship over it, though. :(

IMO Showing up frequently late for work is unprofessional! It is not fair for previous nurses to wait after long exhausting hours to give report to the oncoming nurse! I can understand if a nurse is late because of bad weather conditions. Even then, nurses should leave the house way earlier. I haven't called off in over a year, and I make sure I arrive at work 30-40 mins early , just in case there are traffic issues. Sometimes it is okay to call off or be late, things do happen, hopefully not often!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

Well since I am the new kid on the block I didn't say anything just yet. The facility is LTC and chronically understaffed. THey tend to hire a lot of new grads. I actually like new grads but the workload is intimidating for them. This is not my first rodeo but they only gave me 3 days orientation before cutting me loose on a brand new computer system that even the older nurses didn't know. Good thing I'm technology savvy. Still the late nurse in question has been late twice more and called off last night and the night before. I only live ten minutes from the facility but you can bet I am making sure they pay me all the over time I am due.

Going to go take a nap now


WookieeRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 3 years experience.

I just don't understand how people don't feel embarrassed or ashamed at being chronically late. Don't they care that people will most likely consider them unreliable? Does people thinking that about me only bother people like me who are anal-retentive about time? Many of the chronically late employees I've had to deal with literally just stroll in and do not care whatsoever.

In the summers I used to manage a swimming pool and made it very clear that I have a 3 strikes rule (first warning: verbal, second warning: written, third warning: termination). If you were more than 10 minutes late I just sent you home, and it counted against you anyway. I am no joke. On opening weekend it wasn't unusual for me to lose 4-5 lifeguards on staff, but it was an excellent example. All the other staff was on time (baring emergencies, etc) for the rest of the summer. Sometimes you just have to make an example. It was a very popular pool so I always had staffing waiting on the sidelines, so staffing wasn't an issue. Although, even if it was, I would rather have sat up on that stand myself than depend on someone unreliable who can't even show up to a shift on time.

Ok, sorry, sorry rant over. Not being on-time is a huge pet peeve of mine (I'm talking grating teeth, fist clenched, steaming mad pet peeve).

QuarterLife88, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Neuroscience. Has 7 years experience.

Being tardy is my #1 pet peeve. It's rude and disrespectful. It says, "my time is more important than yours, and I don't give a crap what you might have going on in life."

45 minutes late?! With no phone call to the unit profusely apologizing with reasonable explanation for the tardiness? I would have killed.

I don't care what the reason, chronic tardiness (in general, not necessarily in the OP's case) makes you a jerk, sorry.


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

Might I add that the facility where I worked with the tardy CNA had no time clock ... Whereas where I work now there is a time clock where you have to scan your badge's barcode AND then your index finger to clock in. Two minutes past the hour you are due at work and you're locked out and considered late.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Employees who have difficulty getting to work on time, for whatever reason, will gravitate toward jobs where technologically efficient timekeeping is not in place, or where the culture makes disciplinary enforcement lax.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

Ok so it happened again last night - this time with a different employee a "senior RN" who I was warned by my co-worker would be late. Shift change is at 11 pm and he strolled in at 11:30 I gave him 10 minutes to prepare himself and when he didn't ask for report I asked rather curtly "Are you ready to take report?" He said "No I'm not ready yet!" I said "Well it's after 11 and I am ready to go home." He gave me a strange look and said "What crawled up your shorts?" I said "You did - I am never late for work and no one has to wait for me I expect the same consideration!" He grumbled and said something about giving notice in the AM which I ignored then I gave report and left. I called my supervisor on the way home and told her what had happened!" My husband was lived when I got home after 12:30 knowing that I am only ten minutes from home. Maybe this will change things maybe not. I am only doing this job to prove I can work the floors as I have been away from the bedside for 9 years and needed floor experience to get back into acute care - I have been starting IV's like a pro and well as Foley's and other things - I guess some of it's like riding a bicycle.......




Has 20 years experience.

Document, document, document. Chronic tardiness is not appreciated by most managers/supervisors. I would not given him ANY time to get ready if he is late. Tell him, report begins "NOW" and if he wants time to "get ready" to get his butt in early. What a jerk. Maybe you will get lucky and he will give notice.