Monday, March 12, 2012

an ER nurses guide to happy ER nurses

If I were in management I would have some rules about how ER nurses work. With the wealth of wisdom (guffaw) I have come by over the years I offer the following ideas/rules to retain your ER nurses and keep them sane:

1) Offer 10 and 12 hour shifts. Insane as it may sound, nurses like 12 hour shifts because it lets us have more days off. 98% of our staff work these shifts and we have been doing it for years.

2) No nurse can work more than two 12 hour shifts in a row. Three in a row is too much. By the third 12, the average nurse is ready to wring somebodys neck by the afternoon.

3) In a 7 day period, no nurse can work more than four 12 hour shifts. There are times when I work five 12 hour shifts in a week usually the week I work my weekend. Its way too much, especially if it has been a busy week. (see previous week re: wringing of neck)

4) A nurse can be scheduled only 2 out of 4 mondays in a month. Mondays suck. End of conversation. Nobody should be working every monday.

5) If possible, break up the shifts. Half the shift in one area, half in another area. So move the staff around to main ER, fastrack, triage, charge. Makes a shift a lot easier.

6) Have your staff do self schedulling. We have been doing self schedulling for years and it is probably the main reason people stay over the long term.

7) Put the important information the staff needs to know in a weekly email instead of throughout the week. Our manager has been doing this for a long time and it has cut way down on the emails.

8) When your staff has a really hectic, difficult day, thank them for working so hard.

9) Have good coffee in the break room instead of shitty coffee. They deserve it. (Small stuff makes a big difference)

10) On those rare slower days, allow the staff to sit around and socialize for a while. They need it.


Anonymous said...

I like most of these, but not #2 for night shift. I'd rather work 3 or 4 nights in a row and flip my sleep back and forth less often. Totally with you on the coffee! We have terrible coffee, it's depressing.

Scrubs said...

Great points, and definitely agree that good coffee makes days better!

Anonymous said...

hi, i wanted to ask you a big favor if you dont mind. i'm studying to become an er nurse. as my final exam i have to make an essay and find sources and one of the essay requirements is interview someone who has worked or is woking as an er nurse. if you can help me i can email you the questions if not thank you anyways.

Loeffler said...

Great points, and definitely agree that good coffee makes days better!