Annoyed about a bonus ...help *long*

  1. I am in a situation that I need a little input on.

    I started in February in an ICU (new grad). As of the second week of June, I was in my final week of orientation. For my final week, I was scheduled to work Monday-Weds-Thurs. I should mention that there had been signs posted all over the units that week stating that there was a bonus of $15hour for picking up extra shifts during that specific week. Anyways, on Monday, the coordinator came by and said that they really needed someone to pick up a shift on Tuesday. I told her it was too bad I was still on orientation, otherwise I would (I could really use the extra cash). She told me, 'ohh well you're almost done, you should be fine.' My preceptor who was working with me that day said that she'd even come in and work the first 4 hours of the shift with me to 'get me started.' The coordinator then said to me, 'Hey you get a good bonus!' I asked if this was ok, and she said yes. I even checked with my nursing educator to see if this was ok (since I was technically still on orientation) and she said, 'if it's ok with her (the coordinator), it's ok with me.'

    Two weeks later, when I questioned the same coordinator about my bonus $, she told me to my face 'ohhh, I'm not sure if you're eligible for that.... since you were still on orientation.... I did not know you were on orientation still.' This really ticked me off, since I felt like she was lying straight to my face! I then emailed my Director of Nursing in Critical Care and asked if she had received the hours for my bonus. She never emailed back. A month went by....and I never saw that bonus on my paycheck. I then went into the directors office and told her the situation, and she told me she'd take care of it. The next paycheck, I noticed in the bonus section that I'd received a whopping $20. umm... I'm not a genius but 15 times a 12 hour shift equals a little more than 20 bucks!

    Last week, I finally went into her office (director) again and told her the situation. She told me 'ohh no, that doesn't sound right. 15 dollars an hour!? (laughing) that sounds like way too much.' She told me she had 'lost' that folder regarding that specific bonus and couldn't look it up anymore. She told me to give it one more week to see if the rest of the money 'shows up' on my paycheck.

    Is it just me, or am I getting screwed here? I feel like I'm being taken advantage of. Why would anyone pick up a shift for a 'bonus' of 20 stinking bucks anyways? I could really use some advice here. Being a new nurse, I just dont know what to do. Should I just let it go??? :angryfire
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    You're getting screwed. You can try finding another nurse who got the same bonus and ask if they would speak on your behalf. Otherwise you may just have to chalk it up as a lesson learned. Me....I would make sure I never did the facility any more favors.
  4. by   lilthorina
    this is too bad... yah, i agreed with the post above. try asking your preceptor, see if she gets the bonus too.....
  5. by   maryshome8
    Ok, I'm a little late in reading your post, and I'm a pre-nursing student, however, from 20 years of work experience I can tell you this, as hospitals are ultimately a business just like any other company...

    Be very, very careful about picking your battles at your new job. I personally, think you went too far with the fact you were supposed to get paid a bonus for the shift and did not receive it. You were basically demanding anyone who would listen to address your issue.

    You don't want to give the impression with your higher ups that you are a whiner and will beat a dead horse to death. Management HATES this.

    Yes, it's money, and yes, you are entitled to it....but when you are getting ignored by management, just chalk it up to administrative red tape and set the issue aside and forget about it. It was ok to mention it, ok to follow up on it, but when it was clear you were getting ignored you should have dropped it.

    If you volunteer for another shift AFTER your orientation and don't get paid the posted bonus, just don't work them anymore.

    Look at it this way...what is the bonus of ONE SHIFT in comparision to a TARNISHED CAREER?
  6. by   Kymmi
    I think that taking the issue as far as you did was absolutely correct. Did you actually work independtly on the bonus shift or was your preceptor there with you. If you functioned as a staff nurse and took a full patient assignment then you should get what you were promised. I know that where I work they frequently offer bonuses however there is a bonus contract signed by both employee and nursing supervisior prior to the start of the shift which ensures proof that both sides know the conditions in order to receive the bonus.
  7. by   HARRN2b
    Things like this irk me to no end. Your a woman so you should just shut up about it. Do you think a man would just forget about it. That is why so many view nursing as volunteer work, and not a real career. I noticed in my local paper, there was an ad in the employment section for a nice new hospital. It said hiring profession positions, hiring nurses. Goodness. I am suprised. I really thought nurses were professionals.
  8. by   GooeyRN
    Yep... You got screwed. They know you are new and wont cause a stink, so they stick it to ya... Im sorry.
  9. by   santhony44
    No, this is not right, and no, you did not take it too far. A hospital is a business, yes, and they need to deliver on what they promise. Being a business does not excuse a lack of integrity in promising something and not delivering. Standing up for what you were promised does not make you less of a professional! You did not demand the extra shift and bonus, it was offered to you.

    In the long run, they are apt to lose far more than the $15 an hour, as in all likelihood you are not going to stay with that institution long-term. They've just spent a bundle getting you oriented and then tossed that out the window for $15 an hour.

    I would try getting the preceptor, the educator, and HR involved. You still may not get the $$ but you surely won't if you don't pursue it.

    If they goofed in offering the money to you, that's their problem, not yours. Even if it had to come out of the coordinator's pocket, it is still owed to you.

    If you have no success in getting the money, I would seriously start looking around for another job. Don't stay with a place you don't respect, working with people you don't respect or trust. As long as you are there, for whatever reasons, don't agree to do anyone any favors without getting it in writing. Make up your own "contract" to be signed, tear one of the flyers off the wall, etc., to keep whatever proof you need.

    The issue here really isn't $15 an hour, though that's important to you. The real issue is the lack of honesty and integrity on the part of the facility and the individuals you dealt with. I think that's a battle worth choosing.
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    This first time, you set the stage: can you be rolled, or not?

    Experience and maturity in nursing has taught me to be assertive. That is a lession I wished I had learned as a new nurse.

    There has to be a formal greivance process. Calmly tell your manager that you think you weren't treated fairly and rather that be upset about it, or cause anymore waves, you wish to file a formal grievance/complaint about it and let the process work.

    And then, IF THEY RULE AGAINST YOU, drop it.

    But, your bosses will at least know that, IF THEY PULL A FAST ONE ON YOU, in the future, you will contest it.

    And, in the future, stipulate that any bonus conditions must be in writing BEFORE you start your shift. All that takes is a simple interoffice email outlining the terms of your shift.

    Tell whoever offers you this shift and at what rate that you will NOT assume the shift unless the offer is confirmed in an interoffice memo to you in advance.

    And then, don't back down. If it's not in writing, refuse to take the shift. I would bet that AT THAT TIME, BEFORE THE SHIFT, some house supervisor will have the authority to email you a confirmation of the terms.

    See, BEFORE the shift, they have a vested interest in their promises. Just make sure you can hold them to it AFTER the shift.

    Otherwise, lesson learned.

    And I COMPLETELY disagree with those that have said you took it too far and you should know your place as a new employee.

    If you don't stand up for you, who will? Learning to stand up for myself took me too long learn as a nurse. They should have taught me - and you - that in school.

    Let me add that hospitals don't normally allow new grads in ICU unless the really need the help. The fact that they are willing to offer so much confirms that. YOU have more power in this situation than you think you do.

    Think about it this way: it takes, on average SEVENTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS to bring a critical care nurse up to regular staffing (that's the cost from recruiting through orientation.) IF they are willing to toss 76k down the tubes over a dispute about 130 bucks, then you don't want to work in an organization that has no concept of your value anyway.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 15, '06
  11. by   babiesX2
    I would take the advice of the PP r/t filing a formal grievance/complaint. In the future, I would do as Timothy advised and use email to confirm bonuses and such prior to the shift. That way you will have documents to support the promises made to you by management. It takes time, but you will learn to be more assertive. I used to be the biggest doormat around. It took a few times of being treated unfairly for me to learn to open my mouth and defend myself. Assertiveness was a skill I had to learn along with my other nursing skills. :spin: I admire you for sticking up for yourself.
  12. by   ZASHAGALKA
    See, ultimately, for you and them, this is not about THIS 130 bucks, but the NEXT 130 bucks, and the next one, etc. etc.

    You have the only vested interest in ensuring that all those future bonuses belong to you and are actually paid.

    And so, the dispute about THIS bonus check is simply a proxy fight for all the future ones.

    THEY know this. It's only fair that YOU be armed with the same information.

    Assertiveness comes down to this: speak truth to power. Not angrily, but consistently. So, stand up for yourself and speak the truth. And the truth is this: you earned something not being delivered.

    No matter how it turns out, you have the truth on your side. And that is a powerful ally.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 15, '06
  13. by   llg
    I recommend an "intermediate" course of action in this case. Assess the overall situation and how you feel about this job. If you are happy there and want to stay there because you like the work and your coworkers, I would chalk this one up to experience. It may just have been an honest misunderstanding. You were right to question it. You were right to take it up the ladder to the next level.

    In the future, get such agreements in writing. Say that you have experienced misunderstandings in the past and want to be sure of what you are agreeing to before you volunteer for extra shifts in the future. Say this with a smile on your face and a pleasant attitude and move forward with care rather than carrying a grudge. Such an approach will send the message that you won't allow yourself to be taken advantage of ... but by calling it a "misunderstanding" and being pleasant about it, you maintain positive relationships with your leadership team.

    If, on the other hand, you feel that the leadership team purposfully took advantage of you and/or you have found other things about the job that make you question your position there, then you might want to start planning your exit. Stay on good terms with everyone, but keep your eyes open for a better opportunity.

    Good luck,
    llg
  14. by   Jesskanurse
    Wow, thank you for all the responses. To be honest, at the time it was nice to think I was going to get another hundred or so but now for me, it is the concept. I refuse to be a doormat. I never knew what a grievance report was until now. I have to figure out how to do one of those. I just hate the fact that when I went in there, she made me feel like I was asking for a favor. And just to clear things up, yes I did take two patients by myself from 10pm to 6am. The preceptor was there for me until 10pm. I actually did ask her to back me up as well and she said no, just talk to the coordinator she should be able to help you.. and walked away. Wonderful huh?
    I dont understand why pursuing this would mean me throwing my career away. In my opinion if they continue to act like this, they are throwing a valuable team member with great potential away.

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