What a Nurse Does in Low Census: PRN opinions

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Nothing.
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Well not if she gets the privilege to work. If the privilege to work is granted, that you are to do so with no tech, a bigger patient load with higher acuity patients, and often are pulled to other departments.
Being pulled to me is often a nice change of pace, so that I do not mind. What I do mind is being pulled and yet still having an understaffed department that is unfamiliar to you. I’ve been lucky in that the nurses are almost always very friendly and do their best to be helpful, but often are so wrapped up in their own patients and tasks that they often do not have the time to offer assistance.
Unfortunately, with the terrible economy, our unusually low census, and budget concerns it seems that the nurses are facing the brunt of the burden. I am sure that I do not understand all the details, but in my humble opinion they decisions they may to cut costs in regards to staffing are often absurd and end up costing them much more than they are attempting to save. Unfortunately, it seems more often then not we are being called off at least once a week. That’s a pretty big hit to the pocketbook, especially with taxes coming due, a toddler to buy Christmas for, and a pile of debt competing for Everest status.
I have contemplated attempting to work PRN somewhere, but it makes me very anxious to consider starting over new somewhere. With my less than stellar experience as a newbie nurse, I am fearful that I may encounter similar treatment even though I much less green these days. I also do not really want to give up the time with my family if I can help it, but it would be nice to eliminate some of the monthly reminders of my prior frivolous spending.
What are you opinions on working PRN? Specifically, if you do it/have done it at a completely different facility or specialty, I would like to know what it was like for you starting and how you are accepted by the other nurses and staff.
This is something I have pondered for quite some time, and would like to know how easy to is to dive in to a completely new environment every now and then. How long does it take before you catch your breath? Is it worth it? Do you feel you can safely practice as a nurse? Do you feel you have the help you need?

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1 thought on “What a Nurse Does in Low Census: PRN opinions”

  1. Working prn for one particular facility is exactly as you described the floating experience in your own, I believe. When I did it, I took vacation time (2 weeks) from my regular job in order to orient to the new place. It was a huge sacrifice of vacation time, but well worth it. Enjoy working prn because it helps me stay sharp and hone new skills. Plus, it is always nice to have a change of pace and to get a bigger view of the profession.

    I would NOT recommend per diem work with an agency for a new nurse, even though that is where the big money waits. When I started, I remember thinking how fortunate I was to have 25+ years under my belt, or I would have driven home in tears. Bottom line: If they’re paying for agency, they’re in trouble and cannot keep their own nurses…… so, it is usually a very wild ride, best suited for adrenaline junkies.

    Have you thought of using your RN in areas other than a hospital environment? Agencies often have a home healthcare department as well… another exciting avenue in Nursing…. only need to learn one patient.

    HOWEVER… since you are asking for advice: I think you should keep the time you have with those you love. As long as the bills are being paid, allow yourself the luxury of staying put and learning where you are, until you are more comfortable (Sounds like you are doing a superb job right now….new, or not!!!). Those kids are going to grow up fast….. even faster if you’re married to work. Just my humble opinion……….

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