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I'm insane!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I really need to get over my guilt complex!

Yesterday I found out that there were 2 unfilled nursing shifts for today and tomorrow days. We are so short staffed that it's hard to get someone to fill one shift, let alone 2 on a weekend. Usually when there are 2 vacant shifts they make someone from the previous shift stay for a double. The nurse has no choice. It's either stay or get fired and charged with "abandonment". So the nurse stays, and if they can find someone else to fill that second vacant spot, then all is well. Otherwise each nurse has to pick up extra patients and are run ragged and often miss their breaks.

So I felt really bad knowing how bad the staffing was for the day shifts on the weekend that I volunteered to do a double shift tomorrow (Sunday). So I work this evening until midnight and then go back in at 7:30 am and work until midnight. It's my last day of work before I get 2 days off.

My chiropractor is so upset with me because I tend to do at least 1 if not 2 double shifts per week. I'm not the only one doing double shifts either. On Thursday one of the day nurses did a double shift from days into evenings nd then came to work yesterday morning for her regular shift (same thing I'm doing, only I"m doing my regular evening shift today and my double on my last shift).

If I had the energy and physical health, I could be doing double shifts every single day of the week on my ward. That's how bad our nursing shortage is

I don't mind doing the odd double shift. But when they are weekly or more than weekly, it's hard. Plus the overtime doesn't even really pay off. My tax deductions alone from my last check which had 2 double shifts was enough for me to pay my rent and utilities for an entire month. So whatever I did earn for those shifts, got eaten up by the tax man.
post #2 of 5
Nah, I don't think you're insane, just goodhearted.
post #3 of 5
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
If I had the energy and physical health, I could be doing double shifts every single day of the week on my ward. That's how bad our nursing shortage is
Look at it two ways. Is it your fault that there's a shortage? or is it the hospital's fault for not attempting to hire or at least make an attempt to hire more nurses?

I tend to find that it's the employer fault, for whatever reason they're slow to hire anyone or even post that they need to hire anyone. This seems universal with most businesses.

So, you feel guilty and feel that you need to help out your fellow nurses and patients, and the hospital gets to continue dragging their feet while ensuring that all their nurses are overworked, tired, and more likely to make mistakes...
It seems that maybe the staff needs to pressure the hospital into hiring.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
If we were to stop doing over time and picking up double shifts, they would have to close a whole lot of beds. A year ago when they were negotiating our new contract, our Union told the government that they would instruct the nurse to not pick up any extra shifts or do a single minute of overtime unless they met the demands. The government caved and gave the Union what they were asking, because they knew that they would get a whole lot of flack from people if we were to stop doing overtime.

That being said, at 11:30 this morning while I was putting together my dinner for tonight and my 3 meals to take with me tomorrow, the nurse that was in charge on nights called me! That means she had stayed overtime as I mentioned earlier would happen. She was looking for someone to come in early because she wants to go home and get some sleep because she is back to work again at 11:30 pm this evening for another night shift. I told her no because not only was I busy doing laundry, but I'm also doing a double shift tomorrow.

I have a union meeting to attend on Wednesday and everyone on the ward is asking me to bring this staff shortage on our ward up.

The problem is that the acuity of the ward has changed over the years and as a result it's become more busy with so much more for the nurses to take on. Five years ago when I used to go there it was a very different "type" of patient that we were looking after. They had their surgery and went home in a day or two, so our staffing needs were fine. However, over time the surgeries have become more complex, people are "sicker", we are basically the dumping ground of the hospital and now have lots of medical patients on our ward too.

So when you factor in all of the changes in the health of the patient and the amount of tasks and assessments the nurse has to do, we just can't handle having 6 to 8 patients for a shift and be able to manage our shift properly, or safely.

Not to mention most times these double shifts just don't work. Because if the nurse is mandated to stay beyond her shift, chances are they will negotiate to have their next shift the next day off. So if they get the shift off, the shortage then carries over to the next shift. So tell me? How does that accomplish anything?

Tomorrow night when I finish work I'm going to stay for a while and photocopy our staffing requests and some sheets to show the number of overtime shifts that we are doing and take it to the union meeting with me on Wednesday.

They really need to close some beds on our ward.
post #5 of 5
That is so selfless of you It`s such a shame there aren`t more people wanting to do nursing so people wouldn`t be forced by guilt or by their employer to work so many hours. I`m sure it just makes people disalusioned ( I can`t spell! )with the job
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