Offered a travel assignment in Santa Clara, CA with Kaiser Permanente, suggestions?

  1. I've been offered a travel assignment in Santa Clara, CA. I'm looking to travel to the Silicon Valley area because my fiance is interviewing for jobs there (we are currently in Honolulu). I am working with Emerald Healthcare. The job offered is with Kaiser Permanente (CVICU) which is where my hesitation lies; I've heard the horror stories about contracting with them. Stories that include contracts being canceled midway through because the traveler was replaced by another traveler working for American Mobile earning less $/hr. Does anyone out there have experience at the Santa Clara location? This is my first time traveling, any suggestions on what I should put in my contract or negotiate for? All feedback welcome and appreciated.

    Jessica RN
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    About grish3

    Joined: Apr '08; Posts: 5; Likes: 8


  3. by   grish3
    Now that I've traveled here for 6 months, I'll answer my own post in hopes that it helps someone else. Kaiser is abusive to travelers, I would not recommend it to anyone. I've seen three groups of travelers come and go and I'm the only one that resigned for a second contract and that was ONLY because my contract ended just before Thanksgiving and I didn't want to find new housing/new job before the holidays. The staffing office has no idea what they are doing and yet they seem to have a death grip on the entire hospital; additionally, the managers do not support the staff as they should and they love to be passive aggressive which does NOT work for me. I'll be glad to elaborate if anyone wants to message me directly.

  4. by   ramfan
    Hi Jessica,

    I have a year experience under my belt as a stepdown RN. I was told by a recruiter that my options for travel nursing are very limited with my experience, but Kaiser is always hiring those with less experience and that would be a good option for me. I was trying to get more info on Kaiser and came across your post. Do you think Kaiser is a bad option across the board? I would like to know more about your experience.

  5. by   meandragonbrett
    I've heard nothing but terrible things about being a traveler at Kaiser facilities. American Mobile has an exclusive contract with Kaiser and some of their own recruiters won't even send their travelers there unless it's a last resort.
  6. by   OMG3kids
    This thread has been highly interesting to me. Kaiser is THE BIG employer in my area. Food for thought.
  7. by   grish3
    Let me elaborate further. Full-time staff are treated well because they are unionized. The pay is great, the benefits are pretty good, and nursing in general receives a lot of support due to "turn-teams" that will turn your patients every two hours or help with difficult bathing. There are break nurses that will cover you for your lunch and breaks, which can be up to 1.5 hours/shift depending on the hospital and unit you are working.

    My original post was in regards to how TRAVELERS are treated. I nearly left bedside nursing after 6 months with Kaiser. I felt like a number, an expendable body. They shuffled around your assignment every 4 hours and it was highly likely you would work in at LEAST two units during your 12 hour shift. I am a highly trained and experienced CVICU nurse and they took that as "she can work anywhere". They floated me between CVICU, ICU, tele, step-down, and med-surg. In one day, I could have as many as 13 patients. I had no experience outside of the ICU and they thought because I had a high skill level I could handle 5 patients in med-surg. ICU and med-surg are not the same thing; they require difference skill sets. I am used to splitting my brain in half, one-half for each of my two-patient assignment. I don't have the same work flow as someone who typically manages a larger patient load.

    While I managed the heavier load it made me very uncomfortable and I never really embraced it. If I wanted to be a med-surg nurse, I would have gone that route after college. If you dared to speak to your manager or staffing office representative and tell him/her that you felt uncomfortable and you felt you were endangering your own license by taking on work in areas outside of your comfort zone...they would threaten to end your contract on the spot. For those of you who haven't traveled before, this means you have exactly 48 hours to move out of your housing and it is very likely you will be financially punished by the hospital and your travel agency. In addition, you will be blacklisted from every working at the company, not just the facility, every again. They keep you between a rock and a hard place all the time.

    To further elaborate - The manager that hired me into the CVICU as a traveler once confronted me and said that he heard I was talking negatively about the medical staff to other nurses. I never had any personal problems with any of the physicians on staff in any department and particularly not the CVICU and ICU. I had no idea where this came from. In fact, I liked many of the physicians in the facility and really only had issue with one because I thought he was lazy and out of his depth. I never expressed that sentiment to anyone, not even my own husband. Where he got that information was beyond me. As a traveler, I trust no one. I don't gossip, and I try to be positive and helpful at all times. When I asked where this information came from he refused to answer. I felt like it was a "I got a secret but I'm not going to tell you" kind of conversation. I told him if he wanted to have any further conversations with me it would need to be in HR with another person present and fact would need to be presented. THIS WAS THE LAST STRAW. My contract ended a week later and I will never travel to another Kaiser facility again. I'd rather leave nursing.

    Fortunately, my next contract was with UCSF in San Francisco and it was a polar opposite experience. I loved, loved, loved it and stayed for 7 months. I would have stayed longer but my husband took a job in Phoenix and off we went. UCSF restored my faith in humanity after such a demoralizing experience at Kaiser and I no longer wanted to leave the bedside. The best thing I can do is to tell my story to other potential travelers and encourage them not to take an assignment at will regret it.

    P.S. The worst thing you could do is become an American Mobile traveler at Kaiser. You will be treated horribly and make less than your fellow non-American Mobile travelers. Ugh.
  8. by   jtmarcy12
    OP: So sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation with Kaiser. I too was a traveler but in CA I was At Summitt Medical Center. When they float you it is extremely difficult to have 5 patients on each unit you float to. One friend had some words of wisdom that did not pretain to this, but I use it often she would say" when you have your hand in the lions mouth you have to ease it out slowly". That is what one must remember when taking on a travel assignment. Some of the staff can be cruel and jealous. I was so blessed that I never had my contract ended. But I understand that the hospital keeps a 'thick book' of every nurse who is a DNR (do not return). But I am so glad that you found some redemption in AM mobile. My travel company was ACES! who provided a rental car and housing, I found most travel companies were not this generous. I wish you the best!! Happy traveling!
  9. by   thisismeRN
    I agree with grish3 100%. If at all possible do NOT go to Kaiser Santa Clara. I too am a well trained CVICU nurse. I have worked 4 hours total (for the entire contract) in my "home unit". The people in the ICUs are very nice, but the staffing office is completely incompetent and sets you up for failure. Kaiser has floors that are 12 hour nursing and floors that are 8 hour nursing. So, at the VERY least, you will be floated at 3pm to an understaffed 8 hour floor. The 8 hour floors are tele and med-surg floors. I have no problem with the patient load, but when you walk up to a floor and overhear the staff arguing that the travel nurse "makes double what we do so give them the harder assignment" it can really **** you off (and trust me, you make NO WHERE near what they make an hour and certainly don't make double).So here is my typical 12 hour day at Kaiser...
    1. Go to the staffing office, sign in, and find out which of the 7 floors that I oriented on (4 hours of orientation a piece) I will be working that day. Step down unit, OK...
    2. Go to the Step down unit, say hello (everyone is super nice), get assignment and start getting report on my 3 patients. 15 minutes later the charge nurse comes in and says "you are needed in ICU so they're moving you up there". Ugh. OK...
    3. Go to ICU, say hello (again, everyone is super nice), get assignment on 2 patients and start getting report. 15 minuted later the charge nurse says "staffing has moved you to 220 (a tele floor). Double Ugh. Call staffing to find out whats going on and why you've been floated 3 times in the first hour of your day. "Well you haven't taken any patients and it's not our fault". I guess the FIVE patients I've gotten report on already don't count as patients. Whatever, go to 220.
    4. In 220, get assignment (everybody treats you ****** because they think you make double AND you're an hour late), get report on your 4 patients and spend the next 7 hours playing catch up. We all know that first hour is the most important...
    5. Its 3pm! start above process all over...except when you get to the next tele floor (because you WILL be pulled) you won't get your last break because that floor assumes you've already had it. No worries, you don't have time anyway because again, you're an hour late.
    6. Don't bother trying to circumvent this process by coming in early because you will NOT be paid one minute before 7 am.

    This is not a one time occurrence. This is EVERY SINGLE DAY at Kaiser. The regular employees are treated great and the pay and benefits are awesome. For travelers, the people in general are nice, but staffing throws you under the bus and then backs up and drives over you twice. Of the 8 people that oriented to travel spots with me, only 2 of us are left. If you absolutely MUST travel at this facility...just be aware that you have no "home unit". If you are hired in CVICU, ICU, Stepdown, or a specific tele floor, be aware that you are in a float pool. I have traveled several contracts and I'm used to being the first one to float but I have never been treated like a body that can fill a spot anywhere. I am literally counting the shifts (11!) until this contract is over.
  10. by   Love1another
    Seeing this post makes me feel a little better with my experience at Kaiser Downey Ca. I had similar experiences where I started in one area but by the end of my shift I floated twice. It was horrible. I got in trouble for chewing gum & also for having my cell phone sitting out at my charting station. I could go on and on with bad experiences there.

    I was was just offered a job at Kaiser Santa Clara and wondered if all kaisers were similar in their treatment of travelers. Unfortunately Santa Clara sounds like it. Would you mind telling me your hourly pay at kaiser Santa Clara?
  11. by   J2ICURN
    Does anyone know if these conditions at Kaiser Santa Clara or San Jose still hold true for travelers today, 2017? I am considering travel offers at both facilities.