The hospital where I work has all sorts of issues. There is a nursing shortage, there are problems with long waits, patients holding in the ED waiting for space on the floor that isn’t available due to a shortage of nurses. Turnover has been enough of an issue that they can’t keep staff.
There have been multiple administrators that have come and gone, and each of them has addressed it in a different way. One way was hiring contract nurses at $200 or more an hour. That was too expensive. Another administrator tried paying large bonuses to get nurses to work more days per week. Still another tried bringing in foreign workers.
One thing that all of them have had in common was the dumbest, least effective action. They changed the colors of the scrubs everyone wears. When I was hired, you could wear any color except black, denim, camouflage, or pediatric prints. Six months later, the colors changed. Since then, we have cycled through at least four different colors. In less than two years, I have bought at least five different collections of scrubs.
Effective tonight at midnight, we all have to wear a new scrub color. These scrubs have to be embroidered with the logo of the hospital and your job title “Nurse,” or “Doctor,” or what have you. We have to buy them from one approved vendor. That vendor is owned by the wife of one of the administrators. I am not sure how that is legal, but there it is.
So I had to buy two sets of scrubs in the new color, complete with the logo of the hospital affixed to it. I’ve learned not to buy more than that, because we will just have to buy a new color within a few months anyway.
The managers are mostly assholes and treat staff rather poorly, although I can say that I like the ones in charge of the ED. They are mostly cool, and I don’t blame them for my recent suspension. That came from risk management, and wasn’t their decision. Still, this place has begun getting on my nerves.
I am giving serious thought to switching hospitals. I’ve been here for two years now, and one of the nice things about this profession is the ease of finding a job. I know one nurse who shows up to interviews in casual clothes and says something to the effect of “Here is my license. We both know that you need nurses badly enough that you are going to offer me this job. So let’s cut to the chase- what are you willing to offer me? Don’t waste my time with useless back and forth, give me your best offer,” and they present her with her options.
Maybe it’s time for a change of scenery. There are a couple of options:
- I can go back to being full time. There are a couple of places that are offering $10k bonuses and more per hour than I currently make for full time, which is three shifts a week. The downside is I am on a fixed schedule, and I hate begging someone for time off.
- There is also an offer of $7500 bonuses at a couple of places. The downside is that I have to work two shifts a week, and still have to beg for time off.
- I can also take what’s called a seasonal position, which pays $65 to $85 an hour, depending on what unit you wind up in. The downside is that you get you no bonuses, no benefits, no shift differential, and have to work every holiday. You sign a contract that has to be renewed every six months, so you can take a few weeks off (without pay) between contracts.
- Or I can look and see what PRN contracts there are and at what pay level. These allow the most freedom- you generally have to work 4 days per month, but can work as much and whenever you like. The only benefits you get are shift differential, shift bonuses (which most hospitals have done away with), and the freedom to work whenever, as little, or as much as you want.
- The last option is travel. A recruiter just contacted me about working in Boston. Ten weeks, $3400 a week for three days per week. They pay the cost of your hotel. That works out to about $90 an hour. It costs $200 round trip to fly between Boston and Orlando, so I would be making $3200 a week for ten weeks but would have to pay Massachusetts taxes, plus would have to actually go to Massachusetts. I don’t think that’s in the cards for me.
I think I am looking at leaving this place in June or so, when my wife’s school year ends. I don’t need benefits, because I get health insurance from my wife’s job. Maybe I will take a month or so off, then look at my options.