Casual on-call rostering for nurses


A student Enrolled Nurse sent us this message about the severe limitations of casual on-call rostering.

I’m an EN student and currently working as a PCA in an aged care facility (actually with a facility as on-call casual and also with an agency).  I feel very used by this industry in my on-call casual role. I noticed the other week they employ something like 15 ENs, of which 10 are on-call casual.  In this facility I got two rostered-ahead shifts and have to reply to texts for any other shifts on offer.  I was booked for an 8 hour shift a month ago and then get a change of shift, reduced to 5 hours.  I asked why the change? Oh, we rostered two on so had to give it to the permanent staffer.

I am so disappointed that so many staff are on-call casual and feel that as an EN finishing training next year the potential for a stable working life is limited.

I’m in my 40s and need to support myself. It’s very disappointing. Wish I’d known this before I began.

How widespread is this sort of casual rostering? Do you have experience of it too?


  1. I used to work for an aged care facility that deliberately had too many staff on their books because they were dead against using agency nurses when someone was sick/on leave. A lot of the ‘regular’ staff had to find second jobs because they could never get enough hours. Every time someone resigned and a few extra measly hours became available, desperate staff became like crows trying to get a piece of carrion. It was ridiculous. This facility was not looking after its staff. Every facility is different. You need to find one where there are lots of hours available. They do exist!

  2. This is normal behaviour from my experience. (RN). It happens to all casuals be it pool casuals or agency. They would prefer to use permanent staff. Imagine it was your place of business. You would use the cheaper staff.
    Put your name down on more than one facility. In other words, don’t put all you’re eggs in one basket. There’s tons of work out there. Good luck


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