Breaching StaRN Contract

  1. Hello, I need some help! I'm a new graduate nurse that started working on a very busy medical-surgical unit in April. In order for me to accept the job, I was required to sign a 2 year contract that states if I didn't stay with the company for 2 years, I'd have to pay them $10,000 in 60 days. I was never given any type of bonus pay--I was only offered the job. I've only been working for the company for 6 months, and I couldn't take it any more. They treated me like a slave and paid me like one too! Sometimes I would not be able to take a lunch break. Every shift I felt like I was risking my patient's lives and my nursing license because I didn't have enough time to provide all of their care! I never would have signed the contract if the manager told me the truth about the unit! She told me the nurse-patient ratio was 1:4. She didn't tell me we rarely have CNA's on our floor. Only after 7 weeks of orientation on my unit, I was consistently assigned 5 and sometimes 6 patients--with no CNA! I was told by my preceptor (who trains people on our unit) to omit critical nursing assessments/tasks because we don't have time (of course they all chart they did those things, but I refuse to follow their advise). Everyone else was too busy to help me too, even the charge nurses. There were many shifts that I was assigned 5-6 patients and all the other experienced nurses were assigned 3-4 patients! On those same days, I was also assigned the most challenging patients together. It was completely unfair for the patients and for me! Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that HCA organization truly values money $$ over patient safety and care!

    I don't know what to do. I'm waiting to hear back from a lawyer on some legal advise. I don't feel like it is fair for me to pay them $10,000 for their poor staffing issues and unfair treatment! Apparently the debt is going to collections. Do you have any ideas on what to do?!
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  2. 65 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Bella_CO
    I don't know what to do. I'm waiting to hear back from a lawyer on some legal advice. I don't feel like it is fair for me to pay them $10,000 for their poor staffing issues and unfair treatment! Apparently the debt is going to collections. Do you have any ideas on what to do?!
    Aside from consulting a lawyer, my only advice is to pay up (or take the collections hit) and leave. None of your problems sound uncommon, unfortunately. There's a reason why places like that hire new grads, and it's because no experienced nurses with other options want to work there.
  4. by   Bella_CO
    Yes, I thought about that but I'm unable to pay. I was barely making ends meet despite living frugally.
  5. by   caliotter3
    You did not write one thing in your post that sounded any different than most places. One of the benefits of reading AN is to become familiar with the realities of nursing employment before experiencing them for the first time. Chances are high that you will encounter many of the mentioned situations in any replacement job. Good luck with your job search.
  6. by   Bella_CO
    I did not see these issues on a busy medical-surgical unit at any hospital that I was on during nursing school clinicals or my work history as a CNA for 8 years (At least not during day shift). We consistently did not have CNA's and 5-6 patients.
  7. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Bella_CO
    I did not see these issues on a busy medical-surgical unit at any hospital that I was on during nursing school clinicals or my work history as a CNA for 8 years (At least not during day shift). We consistently did not have CNA's and 5-6 patients.
    You weren't actually working as a nurse, then. Being a student or a CNA doesn't give you the same point of view. As a student, nursing looked very "easy" to me. After a few days on the job ...oh boy! There are better-staffed places out there, though. As a newer graduate, you might find more "bad apples", though.
  8. by   JKL33
    Doesn't really matter how common this is as far as right vs. wrong is concerned. I think it's despicable; the bald-faced lying as an inducement to consider/sign the contract. Of course none of that is in writing.

    Unlikely the lawyer will have any good news, but might as well hear what s/he has to say.

    Steer clear of these pathetic loser places and their contracts. If the conditions were as good as they pretend, the contracts would be unnecessary.
  9. by   Here.I.Stand
    You probably should have consulted the lawyer before resigning.
  10. by   Bella_CO
    Yes, you're right. But I had no option.
  11. by   klone
    Quote from Bella_CO
    Yes, you're right. But I had no option.
    Sure you did. Your other option was to not quit.

    I'm sure they'll take easy monthly payments. You shouldn't have to cough up the whole $10,000 at once.
  12. by   not.done.yet
    You signed a contract. Your patient ratios were actually not that bad for a med-surg unit. It is a tough job with a steep learning curve. I am sorry you didn't stick it out. Your contract is likely binding. I would call them and see what you can do to work with them. If you left in good standing you may even be able to get your job back. It is not just "bad" employers doing these contracts. Nearly every hospital in my local area has them now due to providing new grad training only to have the new grads jump ship within a very short time period. It is very expensive to train a new graduate nurse. This helps them get at least a modest return on investment.

    I wish you the best of luck. If you can afford a lawyer you can afford to honor this commitment.
  13. by   Bella_CO
    Most places have CNAs though, which makes a huge difference! We didn't.
  14. by   SummitRN
    The price people pay for working for HCA...

    Consult a lawyer. Report back here with their answer.

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