Letter from a nurse. Let us call her Libby.
Libby is having a problem that seems to be not too uncommon amongst shift-working nurses:
I am a senior nurse who is currently rostered a lot of weekends. Having done this for 2 years and not complained I am now seeking to find my work/life balance.
When I raised this issue with my NUM I was told that we have to balance the needs of the ward with those with families, my concerns were heard but I don’t really feel I gained much benefit from talking to her.
I sought to get more control again by dropping my hours from full time to part time (3 days /week) but I am still seeing rosters where 3 of 4 weekends are worked… I have done some scouting around the WWW but not found anything useful… I am not naive and understand that nursing is 24/7 I AM happy to do my share of weekends/nights/lates but I would like to spend time with my partner who works mon-fri and have the opportunity to book a weekend away every now and again…
What is your own experience with working a balanced roster?
Having sat at a desk next to a unit manager that worked exceedingly hard to try to meet the roster requests of 140 plus nurses in our ED, I can definitely see the complex problems that managers face when it comes to rostering.
But as for giving some useful advice to Libby, I would like to throw that out to your vast collective experiences.
How balanced is your own roster….night shifts, weekends, requested days off…..are you happy with your units rostering system?
Do you think that there should be preferential rostering as a ‘reward’ for nurses who have worked in a unit for a longer time (or who work full time vs part time) or should it be a level playing field?
Do you feel your own unit manager is responsive to the needs of their staff?
But most importantly, do you have any words of advice for Libby?