I graduated last December and now work in ICU. When I was
hired I signed an 18 month contract that was to start after my 16
week internship. I received no sign on bonus, just the
orientation. I recently started a RN-BSN program that is designed
for the "working nurse". It is 17 hours per semester. I requested
to my manager that I work two 12 hour shifts a week, as
opposed to the three I have been
working. I work nights and have requested days for about 8
months now, to no avail. She has informed me that if I cut my
hours I will have to pay back a certain dollar amount that is
prorated for each month I didn't fulfill for my contract. I have
heard that in the same cases in the past, the contract would
simply be extended until I could work full time again. Nooooo!!!
So, it makes no sense to me why they would want to make me
angry, pay back $200-$400 PER MONTH that I didn't fulfill my
contract (I will find out tomorrow), instead of being happy with
having me for at least two days a week, getting a more educated
nurse, and working longer. If anyone has had these issues or
has any input please let me know. I just want to SCREAM!!!
Sep 19, '02
Get a copy of what you signed. It should have it all spelled out. Let us know how we can help.
Sep 19, '02
Have a labor attorney review the contract and see whether there are any loopholes through which you can slip. If not, you'll have to live up to its terms, if you can't convince the ICU to change its terms.
Since they probably have problems filling night shifts, you'll have to think of something VERY useful to them to have any bargaining power at all. IMHO.
Sep 19, '02
I have heard of a lot of cases where those contracts AREN'T legally binding.
Sep 20, '02
The only time I've ever heard of a hospital being able to make the nurse pay them anything for breaking a contract is when they have received a bonus. And this is for leaving, not for cutting back their hours! I assume you don't have a union, I don't think they would even try this if you did, but if you do I would talk to them. If you don't, unfortunately, you are sort of on your own. I don't think they can make you pay them anything (check with an attorney as the others have suggested), but they can make your life hell... Have you thought about a new job?
Sep 21, '02
I hate to be a party poop here but I don't think you have much ground to stand on.
You signed a contract knowing that it required you to work 3 12's a week for 18 months. You didn't say it, but it sounds like you knew you would be starting on nights. You've been requesting days for 8 months- you only started there 9 or 10 months ago. You were on orientation for 4 of those 9-10 months, too. Many places the wait for days is years long.
I agree that it would be nice if they would work with you. But basically, you're new, you're at the bottom of the seniority totem pole to get onto days (you didn't mention anyone being bumped ahead of you) and you signed a deal that the hospital expects you to uphold.
Changing the terms of the contract would be great for you. Apparently the hospital thinks that keeping the original terms is better. Unless there is something you didn't mention, it doesn't sound all that unfair to me.
I don't want to be harsh here, but you didn't say they are violating your agreement- just that you want to change it and the hospital isn't letting you. If they were breaking the deal, I'd be more sympathetic.
I think the best thing you can hope for here is to extend the contract to cover the missing shifts. Or maybe use saved up vacation time to cover that shift a week.
Sep 21, '02
I would definately talk to an attorney.....but if it were me??? No Money??? No Nursey!!
Find out what could happen if you 'break' the contract, but how would they get $200-400 a month if your not working there??
This just doesn't sound too 'kosher' to me.....check it out real good and good luck!!
THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER SIGN A CONTRACT TO WORK....THERE IS NO GUARENTEE THAT YOU WILL LIKE IT AND THEN YOU ARE STUCK.......BIG TIME........ESPECIALLY WITHOUT A $$ BONUS!!
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