Nurses who signed contracts to work for tuition

  1. Hi! I'm in a situation where I may be attending a private school that is affiliated with a hospital. I am thinking about choosing the option to sign a contract to work for them for two years after graduation, in exchange for them covering my tuition. This will save me about $17,000.

    However, I would like to hear about the experiences of others before I decide. I am a bit hesitant, as I have heard that these situations can suck big time:trout:.

    My questions for those who have done this:

    1.Were you able to work in a department of your choosing, or just stuck where they saw fit?

    2.Were you treated like a slave, expected to work 60 hour weeks against your will? Or unable to have a halfway decent schedule (like being stuck working rotating shifts if you don't want to, or working 12's every OTHER day)

    3.If you did it and changed your mind, what happened? Were you able to make payment arrangements, or did they want it all at once?

    I am wondering about these things because I would rather pay as I went along than get locked into a total nightmare situation. Also, I have heard this hospital has bad nurse/patient ratios and works you to death anyway. Responses please!!!!!!!!!!!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   nurse grace RN
    Hi, I am in my third year of payback----although I have worked for this facility for 21 years. My total for tuition ,books etc= $24,000. They let me start where I wanted and I have had the chance to move, BUT, now I am sort of stuck where I am and if I had it to do over--I would take out loans. I was quite envious of classmates that had the opportunity to go anywhere they wanted while I was stuck. I know of other people who started out one place and had to take what was left : "because they overhired"! sure they did! They picked and chose is what they did. I am looking to transfer right now and hopefully something will come up--, otherwise ,after I fulfill my obligation I will probably freeze my pension and go elsewhere. Talk to people who have done it at your school and affiliated hospital--see what they say. I can only speak from my experience.
    The best of luck to you.
  4. by   CarVsTree
    Sounds like you answered your own question. If you already know that the hospital has poor ratios and overworks their employees than why would you want to be locked into a contract for 2 years.

    I received a grant from my hospital that paid 100% tuition + $500 for books per semester. However, it was community college. They don't have the same program for the more expensive BSN programs in the area. I like where I work, but I researched and found it to be known to be a nice place to work before I signed the contract.

    If you can afford to pay your own way, than do it and have the freedom to choose where you work.

    Good luck!
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    $17,000 is a hunk of change but if you feel like this would not be a good fit for you then opt for the loans and possible scholarships etc
    talk with some of the nurses it may not be as bad as you have heard
    however it might be worse
    do they have advancement programs
    what are their pay scales and raise policies, no sense signing a contract that keeps you making less than you could elsewhere
    esp if we go into an inflation
    can you buy your way out if you have to move because of family interests
    there are a lot of pros and cons..only you can decide what is best
  6. by   RN1989
    The hospital that helped pay my tuition was the best place I've ever worked in. But then, that was a long time ago. If you already know that this place is going to work you to death, several years of your life is a long time.
  7. by   luvleee
    The hospital that my school is affiliated with is one of the top 5% in the nation. They pay full tuition with the contract being every semester they pay, you commit 6 months. What ends up happening is, you do your senior practicum in your area of interest or area of needed improvement. Then, when you apply for your job (after you take your NCLEX AND PASS), you pick the three places that you want to work in - and you'll get placed in one of those three places.

    I'm not sure if your scholarship program is as fortunate (as I think mine is), but I'm definitely looking forward to being a part of the program. My clinicals have been at this hospital all three semesters I've been at this school so far.

    If the hospital providing funds gives you a bad feeling while you are doing your clinicals there, I would suggest you not accepting the scholarship. If you want to try the scholarship for a semester, and trial yourself at the hospital for a clinical experience... then, decide to stop the funds. Then, do so.

    Either way, you only get "stuck" for the amount of time that they want you to commit... It's not a definite, concrete, I'm stuck forever. Take it for the experience that it is - nursing is life long learning anyway.

    goodluck!
  8. by   bethin
    My employer assisted me with tuition for a semester. Important things to keep in mind:

    Make sure nursing is what you want to do. Don't be like me and decide halfway through that you want to be doing something else.

    Is the hospital large enough that it offers different specialities? Where I work, the only options are med surg, ICU, ER, OB and surgery. Since it's a large sum you may be there for awhile and you want lots of options if you don't like the obvious choices or burn out quickly.

    What's the repayment plan if you do quit, get fired or move? Right now, if I quit, get fired, or move I have to repay the entire sum within 2 weeks. Luckily, I only owe the hospital 80 more hours. You don't want to be looking at repaying thousands of dollars in weeks.

    If the hospital is notorious for poor staffing ratios and working employees to death, I would look elsewhere. You don't want to be a bitter nurse working just because you are locked into a contract. Interview other nurses and see if the reputation fits. Also ask about the turnover rate.

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