The Schedule.

You have a job, you need to know when to work, the schedule tells you when to work. You’d think it would be an easy topic.

Nothing causes more headache, drama, or complaints than the unit schedule. It is the bane of my existence as a nurse manager.

Nursing units must be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Weekends, holidays, special occasions – you got patients, you need nurses. This should be no surprise to those working in healthcare. The hospital has a mantra much like a committed gym rat #nodaysoff

I staff the unit based on a par of nurses needed for the average daily census of patients. Nurses self-schedule themselves in our scheduling application, and then the schedule gets balanced by the leadership team so there’s not 15 nurses working Tuesday and 3 working Friday. There are rules – you work your scheduled weekend, you work a certain number of Mondays and Fridays, you trade or ask for PTO if you want a day off. Seems simple.

Sike! As a manager, apparently other people’s schedules and lives become my problem to fix.

“I need every Wednesday night off for my yoga class” “I can’t work Monday’s for the next 6 weeks because of my church group” “I really need this Saturday off, can I just move to Monday?” “My family is going out of town for Christmas, and I know it’s my holiday but I really can’t work” “I have worked here for 10 years and I just think it’s not fair that I still have to work weekends”

If I can help and be flexible – I do. For the most part, I encourage the RN to work with their peers to find trades and figure it out. Its a big team with a lot of nurses. Despite being consistent with this – the questions and complaints do not end.

And my favorite…the schedule police. “So I just wanted to let you know that I heard some people complaining that Sarah only works two Fridays this entire scheduling period” “I saw that Janet was moved off of Saturday and I noticed that she wasn’t placed on another Saturday that I could see and you know, that could seem like favoritism” “I saw that Tiffany called in sick on the holiday and I was wondering what the rule is on that”


5 thoughts on “The Schedule.

  1. Reading this post helps me keep a positive attitude about Perioperative nursing. Monday through Friday. Do your weekend call every fifth weekend and one holiday a year.

    But yeah, just recently a coworker looked at me funny when I interjected as she spoke to a new nurse about the call schedule.

    I said, ” You have to consider who did holidays the previous year.” ( I had just taken Christmas day this last year)

    The ‘I’m about ready to retire nurse’ responded to me by saying to the young nurse ” Ignore what Susan said,You just take care of yourself.”

    Twenty- five feet away, sitting in her office, my manager shouted out ” Marlyn, please come in here.”

    I’m so glad she keeps her door open!


  2. Hey, if you are going to start a really interesting blog , even for someone who is not a nurse, it would be a good idea to post once in a while. Just sayin ‘


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