labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Continuing the Bitching on Per Diem

I've mentioned before that working per diem can suck. It is my hospital's policy that per diem employees get canceled first. My last few shifts have been canceled, and I'm not liking it. One time I was already up, showered, and dressed so that time really made me mad. But, what can I do? Labor and delivery unit census fluctuates considerably. It's very hard to predict the amount of patients that may be on the floor at any given time. This is typically easier to do on a surgical floor as the OR schedule is made in advance.

My last canceled shift was over the weekend, which coincidentally was a full moon. How bizarre that they are canceling nurses on a full moon weekend! Don't these babies want to be dropped by the pull of the moon?

Anyhow, seeing that it's the summer and don't have any clinicals taking up my time I really want to work as much as possible. I anticipate money being very tight during my last year of school so I want to beef up the savings. But how can I do this while being canceled left and right?

I've thought that I could temp, or be an agency nurse. But I am afraid to call agencies in case they end up being vultures. I'm also afraid that I'd be sent to the worst hospital possible and given unsafe patient loads. What do you think? Any temp or agency nurses out there?


Working Girl said...

I don't work agency and I never have. But, I know a bunch of L&D nurses who do and they almost all have good things to say about it. I guess that you are still susceptible to being canceled, but I think, sometimes, that you can control that through your contract -- one of the agency nurses who works with us can only be canceled a certain number of times a quarter. I'm sure that there are a lot of RNs out in the blogosphere with more info. Good luck! It's always feast or famine in L&D, isn't it? Can't get time off for a vacation and get enough hours when you need 'em.

Labor Nurse said...

Isn't that the truth...feast or famine. Just as another kick in the balls I was put "on call" today meaning they don't need me but if they do they'll call me. So I get to sit around and wait for a phone that may or may not come.

The one problem I foresee with going agency is that I am in school and my availability is quite erratic. I'm not sure that L&D's want to take an agency nurse without a definite commitment. We'll see.

The Nurse said...

I've worked in ER & now in L&D. Full moons usually bring out a group of something... the psych patients,abdominal pains, kidney stones... our full moon this week brought NICU babies et lots of SROMs. And boy, are my arms tired ;0)

I won't work agency because I'm too anal about my work et don't want to conform to other ways of doing things... ie. paperwork. I also know what my OB docs want, I know what I can order for them, when to call and when not to. And I've worked with some bad agency nurses... a few were good, but fumbled a lot through paperwork.

It's a hard call. When I was PRN, I just floated out to cardiac unit or peds if I was called off. Most girls won't do that, though.

I enjoy your blog, have a great day.

TC said...

Well, I did agency full time for 2 years and most of my experiences were positive. I had one really unsafe experience. I finished my shift, called the agency and told them to cancel the rest of my shifts there. They knew that I was a good worker at that point, so they didn't doubt me.

It takes a lot of flexibility and you have to speak up for yourself while remaining diplomatic. Speaking up to the agency about where you are and aren't willing to go and speaking up in the hospital to make sure they give you fair treatment and also assign someone to be a resource for you if you have questions about unfamiliar stuff. Good luck if you try it, the money's good.