I am in a situation that I need a little input on.
I started in February in an ICU (new grad). As of the second week of June, I was in my final week of orientation. For my final week, I was scheduled to work Monday-Weds-Thurs. I should mention that there had been signs posted all over the units that week stating that there was a bonus of $15hour for picking up extra shifts during that specific week. Anyways, on Monday, the coordinator came by and said that they really needed someone to pick up a shift on Tuesday. I told her it was too bad I was still on orientation, otherwise I would (I could really use the extra cash). She told me, 'ohh well you're almost done, you should be fine.' My preceptor who was working with me that day said that she'd even come in and work the first 4 hours of the shift with me to 'get me started.' The coordinator then said to me, 'Hey you get a good bonus!' I asked if this was ok, and she said yes. I even checked with my nursing educator to see if this was ok (since I was technically still on orientation) and she said, 'if it's ok with her (the coordinator), it's ok with me.'
Two weeks later, when I questioned the same coordinator about my bonus $, she told me to my face 'ohhh, I'm not sure if you're eligible for that.... since you were still on orientation.... I did not know you were on orientation still.' This really ticked me off, since I felt like she was lying straight to my face! I then emailed my Director of Nursing in Critical Care and asked if she had received the hours for my bonus. She never emailed back. A month went by....and I never saw that bonus on my paycheck. I then went into the directors office and told her the situation, and she told me she'd take care of it. The next paycheck, I noticed in the bonus section that I'd received a whopping $20. umm... I'm not a genius but 15 times a 12 hour shift equals a little more than 20 bucks!
Last week, I finally went into her office (director) again and told her the situation. She told me 'ohh no, that doesn't sound right. 15 dollars an hour!? (laughing) that sounds like way too much.' She told me she had 'lost' that folder regarding that specific bonus and couldn't look it up anymore. She told me to give it one more week to see if the rest of the money 'shows up' on my paycheck.
Is it just me, or am I getting screwed here? I feel like I'm being taken advantage of. Why would anyone pick up a shift for a 'bonus' of 20 stinking bucks anyways? I could really use some advice here. Being a new nurse, I just dont know what to do. Should I just let it go??? :angryfire
Aug 15, '06
This first time, you set the stage: can you be rolled, or not?
Experience and maturity in nursing has taught me to be assertive. That is a lession I wished I had learned as a new nurse.
There has to be a formal greivance process. Calmly tell your manager that you think you weren't treated fairly and rather that be upset about it, or cause anymore waves, you wish to file a formal grievance/complaint about it and let the process work.
And then, IF THEY RULE AGAINST YOU, drop it.
But, your bosses will at least know that, IF THEY PULL A FAST ONE ON YOU, in the future, you will contest it.
And, in the future, stipulate that any bonus conditions must be in writing BEFORE you start your shift. All that takes is a simple interoffice email outlining the terms of your shift.
Tell whoever offers you this shift and at what rate that you will NOT assume the shift unless the offer is confirmed in an interoffice memo to you in advance.
And then, don't back down. If it's not in writing, refuse to take the shift. I would bet that AT THAT TIME, BEFORE THE SHIFT, some house supervisor will have the authority to email you a confirmation of the terms.
See, BEFORE the shift, they have a vested interest in their promises. Just make sure you can hold them to it AFTER the shift.
Otherwise, lesson learned.
And I COMPLETELY disagree with those that have said you took it too far and you should know your place as a new employee.
If you don't stand up for you, who will? Learning to stand up for myself took me too long learn as a nurse. They should have taught me - and you - that in school.
Let me add that hospitals don't normally allow new grads in ICU unless the really need the help. The fact that they are willing to offer so much confirms that. YOU have more power in this situation than you think you do.
Think about it this way: it takes, on average SEVENTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS to bring a critical care nurse up to regular staffing (that's the cost from recruiting through orientation.) IF they are willing to toss 76k down the tubes over a dispute about 130 bucks, then you don't want to work in an organization that has no concept of your value anyway.
Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 15, '06
Aug 15, '06
See, ultimately, for you and them, this is not about THIS 130 bucks, but the NEXT 130 bucks, and the next one, etc. etc.
You have the only vested interest in ensuring that all those future bonuses belong to you and are actually paid.
And so, the dispute about THIS bonus check is simply a proxy fight for all the future ones.
THEY know this. It's only fair that YOU be armed with the same information.
Assertiveness comes down to this: speak truth to power. Not angrily, but consistently. So, stand up for yourself and speak the truth. And the truth is this: you earned something not being delivered.
No matter how it turns out, you have the truth on your side. And that is a powerful ally.
Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 15, '06