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backing out of nurse residency offer before contract

by cat1235 cat1235 (Member)

I accepted a position in a local hospital's new grad nurse residency program. Theres a 2 year contract. Its also the first yr they've done a res program. My ultimate plans are to move to VT, and I'm half way thru the application / screening process there and feel good about it. Anyways, the contract for the residency states there's a 5000 fee for breaking it the first year and 10000 the second. It's the shortest, non descriptive contract ever!! It says you will be fined for leaving once you are hired onto your permanent unit after the 17 wks of residency/training/floor rotations but makes NO mention of what happens if you leave during the 17 wks of residency. Both appointed HR recruiters I am supposed to address my questions to have no idea... no one knows. there are loopholes in the contract.... I have a feeling they may rewrite it the next residency hiring go around ..

Anyway, I would begin in March. I was very honest and upfront with the recruitor about my situation and how i may hear back from VT during the beginning of the residency. She's giving me til the 20th of this month to think about it even though I practically tried to back out today ...

Though I never plan to work at this hospital in the future I don't wanna burn bridges just in case.

My question is do you guys think that by my being honest and potentially backing out of the offer BEFORE I sign a contract and start in march and waste their time keeps me on good terms with the hospital in the future as opposed to signing and breaking the contract in the middle of the program? Obviously the lather would burn bridges. But by doing the first I'm hoping they will appreciate my honesty and attempt to save them time and money (and potentially myself money too) by not following thru with the contract and start date.

What do you think? As long as I'm courteous and withdraw my offer instead of starting and breaking a contract will I still be on good terms with this hospital if I wanted to work here in the future (even though I don't really forsee it as a great possibility)?

Thanks guys !!!

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

If you haven't signed a contract or started I don't see where it'd be a big deal. I'm sure they have other nurses wanting to be in the program.

I will say, though, I don't have much experience with the residency programs as my hospital is fairly small.

If you have already been assigned to a unit you might include a nice letter thanking the manager for their time also.

I really don't see how you can get in any trouble if you're just in the interviewing phase. It'd be similar to getting accepted into a nursing program but not going. I'm sure someone else would be happy for a call saying they can be in the program.

I feel the same way. My possible vacancy may be the answer to someone's prayers. And we aren't assigned to permanent units til the end of the 17 wks. So I suppose I am in good standing with the hospital.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

I think you're taking a very ethical, professional stance by withdrawing and opening that position for someone else who really wants to be there. Good job!

FWIW, I have heard of some people in similar residency circumstances/contracts who did not have to pay back the $, but they did receive a 1099 at the end of the year.... horrible surprise that increased their tax bill. In addition, they were listed as a "not eligible for rehire" which created a lasting smudge on their resume.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I don't think you'll "get in trouble", but I'm not sure you'd be eligible for rehire, either. This may come back and bite you in the butt at some point, if you ever want to work in Houston.