Ask the nursing expert

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

Nursing staff spend all year accumulating vacation time and then they all want to use it during the final two months of the year. I cannot honor everyone's request, or I won't have any staff to work. How would you recommend I handle this?

Nursing staff spend all year accumulating vacation time and then they all want to use it during the final two months of the year. I cannot honor everyone's request, or I won't have any staff to work. How would you recommend I handle this? 

Start with a staff meeting on all three shifts and explain the dilemma. Let them know how important their vacation time is to you, and that together you need to work out a way to meet their needs and the needs of the facility. 

Start with encouraging the use of their time for long weekends vs. taking large groups of time off. It's those three-week stretches that wreak havoc with your scheduling. As long as they know you are working with them, they will cooperate better. 

Your company also might offer other options for utilizing their leave time. Also, simply suggest that next year they don't wait until the last minute to use their leave.


I am still a new director of nursing and was asked by my administrator this past week to start thinking about development of the upcoming nursing budget. I have never “developed” a budget before and I'm afraid I might lose my position if I don't do this well. Where can I get some help? 

Most companies have more than one facility. Call a DON in another facility and ask for some guidance. Also, you may have a regional clinical consultant who can help.

If none of this seems to work, contact your state professional organization and ask for assistance. Developing a budget is a challenge even for a seasoned DON.

Ask your administrator for a copy of the last year's budget so that you will have a foundation to work from. I have found that vendors also are a great help. If you are still baffled, please e-mail me at the address below or call McKnight's directly.
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