Department of Veterans Affairs

Shift work in Nursing

My unit requires nurses to work shifts with a specific off tour. I feel the way the department schedules nurses results in many many sick calls, and increases the amount of overtime the VA pays out. For example, our unit will schedule you during the day, but then have to "double back" into a night shift 8 hours later. Or work a pm shift ending at midnight, and have to be back at 730 am. The type of work we do is demanding, both physically and emotionally, and we are always short nurses it seems. I think the VA could save thousands of dollars a year if our specific unit hired more part time nurses, and stopped scheduling nurses to "double back". Even though there is a policy in place about double backs, it rarely is followed because we just simply do not have enough nurses at any one time to honor that.

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Idea No. 6917