I too am an "Independent Nurse". I got tired of all the OR call, politics, and lack of quality of life (because of all the call... 2 weeks a month of beeper AFTER the regular work day.) We also had a new DON. Before she came, it had been approved that 2 of us not on call could leave early when everything was done, still be paid, and HAVE A LIFE! IF we were slow during the day, and 4 of us did not always need to be there till the clock struck 3pm,we could take care of personal things that needed to be done, like a car repair, going to Walmart, seeing a ball game our child was playing in a nearby town, etc. Being able to do these thing ONCE IN AWHILE helped morale so much that we did not mind the 15 days a month we could not even swim, cut the grass, take a shower without wife listening for phone, etc. You need to know that the closest mall is 2 hours away, and Walmart is an hour. Well a new DON put a stop to it all! So as a Dept. we offered to take a $5000 a year pay cut EACH to be able to continue what we'd been doing. Well, the cut in pay was looked at in some ridiculous way as a PAY increase over our hourly rate (less than $20. hr I might add with 20 yrs as a nurse and a BSN!) They did not add in all the Call pay we earned during the year. (1.25 an hour.) Her other concern was ,"What will the other nurses think?" "It won't be fair to them!" That was the stupidest thing we ever heard! That is comparing apples to oranges! Other nurses in this town are OFF when they are not working. They are not called back in. They did not pull call. Well, within 3 months..... 3 out of 4 of us OR nurses quit, and we had over 50 yrs experience between us!!!! Do you think they asked us how they could keep us? NO! Was there an EXIT interview? No.
That was over 2 yrs ago. Do you think they have REPLACED us with nurses? No, they did replace one of us with an OR tech, but she too is gone. They have hired TRAVELERS and are continuing to do so!! Think of all the money they have spent......all because we asked for some "time" to go home early if we were not on call, and IF the work was done ,yet make enuf money to support our family and call this time "comp" time. .. and take advantage of the daylight hours, knowing the next night we had call and that weekend too. THAT IS WHEN I became independant!!!
I started a business for tax purposes, incorporated and am president of the company. I can advertise myself as indep. or as an agency depending on what the hospital wants to work with!! Some hospitals will not touch an indep. nurse, they want to go thru an agency. Others are tired of the high price of agencies and want to negotiate a lower price with an indep. contracted nurse, and in either case I bring in over $50 an hour and $8 hr for call. And this is LOW sompared to what agencies charge in other places. I have worked in WY., close to home, am home on weekends and the hospital gives me an apt. free!! ( Since our towns are so far apart, I have to travel. Other indep. nurses can continue to live at home, and contract with a hospital for a designated period of time.) I can depreciate my truck, I pay workman's comp, I have all the liability insur to protect me, I pay my own payroll taxes too, and I can deduct my medical and life insur. as a business expense. I follow all the State rules for a corp. in WY.
I plan to travel with my motor home in the next 2 years and finish seeing the US. Yes, it is hard not being in my home, but because I am treated so well and paid what I am worth, and pull less call, I really like it. My attitude is: "I am part of the solution, not the problem".
Indep. nurses are not employees of the hospital... and the IRS has guidelines for indep contractors. Think of yourself as a construction worker with your own business. You make up a contract that you will complete this job by the safety standards, codes, etc. and you will be on the job for X amount of time and for X amount of money. You are trained and do your work for the sake of the project being the best it can be. You state the terms you will work under, and they sign your contract (written by a lawyer).you submit an invoice weekly, monthly, and they pay you. You pay your own taxes and your benefits yourself. You pay your own training, drug screenings, etc. You are not an employee of that firm. That is the philosophy to take as an indep. contractor/ nurse.
I hope this helps clarify what we do. Please think outside of the box, and help nursing be what it should be. Be happy with your job, either stick together for better benefits and conditions, or branch out like we did. By the way, out of the 3 that left, 2 of us are doing this! My friend works 6 months of the yr, takes the rest of the yr off!