CAMP NURSES ARE GROSSSLY UNDERPAID!
I just lost a camp nurse job because I questioned the salary in writing.
Because I spoke up for myself before signing a legally binding contact, I was fired before I began!!
Please allow me to share what just happened to me. My 13 yr old wanted to go to a horse camp this summer, and since I had been a camp nurse 2/last 3 summers, I figured I could work at a camp where she could ride.
So my daughter and I went on a tour with the two women directors in a very nice, 90 acre property with an impressive Equine Program. It cost the kids $1,100/ week. After the tour and a talk, We generally agreed that I would like to help them out for a week, for approx $500. Then when the contract came, It was basically $300. before taxes, etc, and then a $ 200. bonus, If or when you finished the complete time period. And since it was 24 hours day, no official breaks and no time off the property, I decided to write a note adressing some of my concerns, and asking for more money etc. In addition there was no job description in the contract, and I asked some specfic questions, which were advised by the American Camp Nurse Association. ( Check their website, very helpful).
So basically, I asked if they would consider raising the rate of pay to $1000, for the week, and a specific 2-3 hour period each afternoon where I would be on a break, or off duty, And I requested one evening to be allowed to leave the property to go, home, get mail, attend to personal business, banking etc! I didnt think that was unreasonable!
In addition, I aksed if I could bring my own tent to sleep in or just to have private time, since the Nurse's area was literally a two part closet sized room in the kitchen/dining hall. And since there would be food prep and dining and clean up.. a good part of the day, perhabs I could have a place to call my own nearby ? And I figured out that I would be either on duty, or on call/ available 24 hours a day for 8 days straight with NO official TIME OFF, for $2.45 hr, or something like $3.45 hr when you include the waived camper tuition. SO The reason why I am so upset is that the director just called me and said in a nutshell, since I had the ? nerve, audacity etc, to question the $300, possibly $500, that they would pay me, and since I actually had concerns and questions, than I was NOT the type of NURSE they wanted for their camp! When I attempted to explain that any reasonably prudent person would ask questions or attempt negotiations prior to signing a leagally binding contract!! She answered that I could have or should have asked those questions at the camp tour/interview. When I replied that I didn't think of everything at the time, that is why I was asking them prior to aigning the contract formally in writing... she just said how they didn't want a nurse who only thought about the money!
And then I attempted to ask why they didn't value the professional expertise of nurses who are there to do what I feel to be a very important service, that is of maintaining the health and safety of 50 girls training with horses a (high risk activity -jumping horses, for 100 horse/ hours of lessons per day), and caring for injured riders, who through our expertise could be prevented from having potentially permanent head injuries or spinal cord injuries and or injuries resulting in dealth! And to do all of this 24 hours / a day for days and (weeks and months for some nurses) for very low compensation !
SO, BECAUSE I SPOKE UP FOR MYSELF, AND ACTUALLY ATTEMPTED TO STAND UP FOR NURSES, AND TO REQUEST FAIR COMPENSATION IN EXCHANGE FOR OUR VALUABLE SEVICES... I GOT FIRED BEFORE I STARTED!!!
I REQUEST ALL CAMP NURSES TO STAND UP FOR ourselves! To Demand you be PAID WHAT WE ARE WORTH!
All of us who acceptTo not accept unbelievably low pay, just because that's how it's always been done.!