Fair work hours?


  • Specializes in Pediatrics, Neurology, Public Health Education. Has 10 years experience.

I've worked as a research nurse coordinator for around a month. When I interviewed I was under the impression it was a typical M-F job with the mention of an occasional Saturday if the volunteer couldn't make it during the week. What I was not made aware of is that I could be working 45 to 50 hour weeks on a 40 hr/week salary. A salary that is lower than my previous job. I was ok with this since I thought I would be happier and have a better life balance. This isn't the case. I am routinely required to come in an hour or more early and stay several hours late. Typically to walk a volunteer to MRI or get there to help set up for a study procedure. I have also been asked to work Saturdays completing procedures or to walk a patient to MRI that they couldn't have on the weekday. This adds up to many extra hours, typically with me just sitting around waiting for something to be completed.

The physician doesn't seem to be bothered by putting stuff on Saturdays as long as it works with her schedule and I feel like I am being asked to keep all my Saturdays open. if I schedule something during a Saturday, there is no one I am able to ask to complete the task for me because I'm the only coordinator in my group.

This isn't helping my work life balance as I typically volunteer for animal shelters on the weekend and am trying to take a graduate school course that meets on Saturdays. I can't do any of these things if I am being asked to work frequent Saturdays with no one to ask to help me.

I am allowed to take a half day to make up for the overtime but that doesn't solve the issue of me having to basically keep all my weekend plans in the air in case something is scheduled for work.

I'm quite frustrated. I didn't realize how much I was going to be asked to do in addition to managing 5 studies, learning how to do all nursing care and lab preparations as well.

I've started to look for a new job but I hate to jump ship so quickly.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Sounds to me like you have 4 main options:

1. Simply live with the bad job situation (I'm not recommending that -- but I list if for completeness)

2. Have a formal, sit-down meeting with the physician and tell her that this work schedule is not what was described in your interview and that it is not something you can live with for very long. Emphasize the positive aspects of the job and that you would like to continue working there, but that the schedule as it now stands is something you can't live with for very long. Give her a chance to fix things before you quit.

3. While giving her a chance to fix things -- keep looking for another job.

4. Quit (after finding another job, of course) without giving her a chance to fix things.

I would choose numbers 2 and 3. But keep in mind: Almost all salaried jobs require some flexibility with the number of hours worked and exact schedule. While you shouldn't allow yourself to be abused, you should expect to be flexible. Unfortunately, that often results in salaried people making less per hour than staff nurses who are paid hourly and who earn overtime for every extra few minutes.

Good luck!


57 Posts

Ouch! No wonder you're thinking about moving on.

Something significant to address when it comes to IIg's option 2 & 3:

There appears to be major discrepancy in the budgeting of these studies.

EITHER: your hours - which your employer ought to be billing the study sponsors for - are being given away gratis.

OR: the costing proposasl for the study or studies were hugely off-target and have failed to account for the staffing hours required.

Either of these points are serious issues with the financial conduct of these studies.

Dropping that into the conversation may prove persuasive.

Hope that helps!

Mnstn, BSN, RN

54 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Neurology, Public Health Education. Has 10 years experience.

Thanks for the responses. I guess I'm still confused by the grant and payment systems because I'm new to everything research still.

I know that I'm not tied to a specific grant to my knowledge so I can't lose my job if it runs out. If I am I've never been informed. I know that we are working on a new pharma trial and my boss has mentioned including study coordinator fees in the budget for the sponsor but I don't know how that directly ties to me...I've never been informed I would be receiving different pay or any extra money for coordinating the new study.