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Parent Shifts Draw Nurses Back to Work

Parent Shifts Draw Nurses Back to Work

Megan Malugani /

Filling Staffing Gaps

Many nurses in the clinic’s program find themselves working more hours than they originally intended, Young says. During the program’s first 14 months, parent-shift employees covered 15,000 patient-care hours, she says, exceeding the clinic’s initial expectations.

Nurses hoping to convince their managers of the value of parent shifts should present the concept as a potential staffing solution, Young advises. “Encourage them to look at the holes in their schedules and just imagine those holes being filled with four-hour chunks here and there,” she says. “That will give employers the motivation to want to do this type of program.”

Cathy Hunt, BSN, RN, works 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. four weekdays a week in the admissions center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She found her job over the Internet when she found out she was moving from Minnesota, where she already worked part-time.

The predictable routine appeals to Hunt, who has two daughters in elementary school. “I chose my position primarily because of the hours,” Hunt says. She can plan her one weekday off a week to coincide with the days when her children are out of school or have half-days.

Hunt likes her daily responsibilities — performing physical assessments and admitting new patients — but what keeps her in the position is the freedom her job affords her to focus on her children. “Right now the girls are truly my priority,” Hunt says. “This is a job I can go to and be done at the end of four hours.”

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