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.

Categories: Me


BobF · December 31, 2022 at 3:31 pm

When I retired from the military the IDEAL job was in Peabody, MA. New position and it read like they just copied my resume. Took it. Lived 10 minutes from tax-free NH and shopped there always. Managed 6 years of that before deciding I couldn’t take MA anymore. Escaped. NEVER AGAIN. When they began The Big Dig project they should have buried Boston and let the rest of the place slide in behind it.

It's just Boris · December 31, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Sounds like it’s time for a spreadsheet…

One question is, how long do you need to stay at a place before the bonus is paid (or isn’t clawed back)? Not that I advocate trying to game companies that way … but if you go for a large bonus and wind up hating life there, it is a consideration.

And, of course, if you know people at the places you’re considering, take them for a drink or lunch plus conversation….

    Divemedic · December 31, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    It’s a 12 month contract for the bonus.

Jen · December 31, 2022 at 3:50 pm

The scrubs thing sucks, and nobody ever seems to do anything about the nepotism. I absolutely loved my PRN ER job, but I quit this spring after 15 years there. They fired our great manager on a pretense, and within hours, replaced her with the nursing director’s daughter in law. A young blonde with no ER experience and no bedside experience. (The whole thing of going straight from school to management should be banned.)
Over the past year, she got rid of housekeeping, and made the nurses clean the rooms. In a busy ER. Then she got rid of our PCTs and made us do primary care. Then she doubled our patient load from 4 to 8. Then with a full load, they sent me a nekkid combative drunk guy. And no help. I realized i was gonna get hurt and nobody cares.
The next day when they called to see if I’d pick up, I quit. Just don’t care anymore.
Moving somewhere warm, not gonna put up with crappy conditions anymore, in the hope that ‘things will get better.’

    Divemedic · December 31, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    Eh. All hospitals have crappy conditions for nurses at some point. As long as it’s tolerable (the conditions you described aren’t) then the only difference is money.
    At the end of the day, we are all working to make money. As long as it’s tolerable, you make as much money as you can for the amount of time you spend working. It’s business. Make the most you can for the minimum amount of time and effort.
    Don’t get tied to a place because of emotion. It’s business.

      Aesop · January 3, 2023 at 2:49 pm

      ^That. All that. Only that.

      I try to tell the new kids: “After two years experience, get a registry gig, and pick up one shift per week somewhere else. That way, in a year, you’ve worked everywhere else, know everybody, haver references, know where to go look for a full-time gig if this one goes to crap, and most importantly, where not to go because they suck balls.
      Put the registry money in a shoebox, and you’ll have $25K in cash at the end of the year, and half a million at the middle of your career. That’s F.U. money with capital letters.
      Loyalty is one way:up, not down; they don’t give a wet fart about you, it’s just a cost of doing business to them, and the only way they can tell you they love you is what they put in your paycheck. Everything else is assgas. Learn it, love it, live it.”

Grumpy · December 31, 2022 at 4:29 pm

Check what locum tenums can do. In the Dallas-Ft Worth area, a 12-week contract (L&D) can pay $85/hr with a $10k bonus after completion. Rinse, repeat… working four 12-week contracts can net you $40K in bonuses.

One hospital is paying a $50K bonus for signing a 4-yr contract (ICU/ED). The ICU is a 16-bed unit……

    Divemedic · December 31, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Locum Tenums is what I was alluding to with the Boston deal.
    A $50k bonus for four years is $12.5k a year, which I can beat. It has the disadvantage of being locked in for four years. I don’t want to sign a full time gig for more than a year.
    I also don’t want to sign a travel contract for more than 12 weeks at a time.

Vlad · December 31, 2022 at 5:53 pm

Get thee to PACU!
The pts need to be there, they aren’t drunk and if they’re combative they get snowed. Pay is good and if the boss is not an asshole it’s a win-win.

joe · December 31, 2022 at 6:07 pm

every job is short handed…from whataburger to nursing to police and fire…no one wants to work when you can get by on the gov check…wish i had the site, last week i believe, more in blue states, you can make $80-100k not working…who the hell would want to go to work if you can make that much watching netflix all day…even in a couple red states you could make $60-80k…wth…

mike · January 1, 2023 at 8:05 am

“A recruiter just contacted me about working in Boston…. 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.”

Boston is such a contradiction It is, or was an interesting and beautiful larger city, and despite being run by Liberals for about 2 centuries, was safe and clean. The collection of historic shrines to the former American Nation are many and were the main reason most people from away visit the city. They are still there, but they are just a reminder of all that we once were. I would not venture forth just for that, its too depressing.
The city itself is declining along with the rest of the country. The problem used to be confined to certain neighborhoods, that is no longer the case. It is not as bad as Baltimore, NYC, or San Fran yet, but the elements are in place and its just a matter of time. As a charter city in the Blue Hive Club, the politics are in your face Marxist. If you want to avoid political discussions with the clueless, you will have to discuss the fortunes of the local sportsball franchises or avoid talking to people at all.
I have removed from that region to the rural country several hours to the north during our national death struggle. I won’t go anywhere near that place again if I can help it and would not suggest being caught there in any kind of collapse.

JC · January 1, 2023 at 1:53 pm

I don’t know your age or financial situation. But if you can get out, do it. I was a FF/PM for ~30 years here in SOFLA. Loved it. I still show up once in a while at the firehouse. It seems and feels like something bad has happened to the emergency services.
It’s like we are “Boxer” in Animal Farm. I’ve been retired a while, but people I’ve mentored, enthusiastic and driven people. Are looking for the exits.
Either way. Good luck Brother.

nunya · January 1, 2023 at 4:14 pm

your thought process sounds familiar. me, I’d go the prn route. most flexible without being tied down to bs. for the foreseeable future there will be no shortage of work. plus you don’t have to take hours at locations that have proved to suck too badly.. just my .02 worth

Comments are closed.