CI/Staff Gifts -- Venting

  1. I am getting nickeled and dimed to death. This semester we have three separate clinical rotations. It always seems to be $10 for the CI gift/gift card, then another $5 to $10 for treats (donuts, cookies, etc.) for the staff. This semester I'll be lucky if I get by with $45. Let me be clear, I appreciate what these folks do, but I'm in school and my family is strapped. I'm not cheap, just broke. Sometimes I skip lunch because I don't have $3.50 to spend at the cafeteria.

    I'd prefer just to give a token gift and a heartfelt note and photo of the group. Some of the CIs are very aware of our limited finances and actually beg us not to get a pricey gift, but at the end of rotation, here I am coughing up another $15...
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    About firstyearstudent

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 893; Likes: 260

    24 Comments

  3. by   BSNtobe2009
    That's a terrible situation to be in. I have no idea of what to advise b/c I don't know what is customary in clinical situations.

    But it's terrible all the same.
  4. by   jov
    I speak up with the subject comes up, and point out that some people are not in the same financial position as others and ask if this is mandatory. You could offer to get the card instead of making a donation. CI's would be happy with a bouquet and a card.
    We usually bring treats the last clinical day. You don't have to buy them. You could make either cookies or veggie tray (they actually prefer a healthier choice now and then).
    Another thing you could do is bring this up to your Student Advisory Committee and ask for them to help set some guidelines. Maybe all the students on the whole track could pitch in $5 and then it is divided among all the CI's...
  5. by   firstyearstudent
    I'm afraid to seem like a cheap skate. Other students who are in as poor a financial situation as I am seem to gladly fork over the dough (although they may also be privately stewing about it). While baking/cooking/chopping is cheaper, more meaningful, and potentially healthier, frankly I'd rather spend the cash that I don't have than to spend the time that I don't have...
  6. by   truern
    Volunteer to get the paper goods...then go to the Dollar Store and stock up or hit the sale aisle at Party City. Or try yardsales!! Seriously..sometimes I can find brand new things still in boxes that make excellent gifts.
  7. by   jov
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    I'm afraid to seem like a cheap skate.
    I guess I believe another's opinion doesn't make it so. I just bow out and say thank you in a well written note.

    while other students may be privately stewing about it
    and this is the other reason I speak up. Some people are too shy to do it themselves, but they almost always approach me afterward and thank me for doing it for them...
    Last edit by jov on Oct 15, '06
  8. by   s.carter
    hey, its tradition, I say cough it up and feed the kids mac and cheese. thats what I do. its hard to fork it over, but hey, one day youll be the one eating doughnuts in the break room while a student hangs an IV bag for you!! keep your head up and dont sweat the small stuff.
  9. by   OnTheRoad
    Quote from s.carter
    hey, its tradition, I say cough it up and feed the kids mac and cheese. thats what I do. its hard to fork it over, but hey, one day youll be the one eating doughnuts in the break room while a student hangs an IV bag for you!! keep your head up and dont sweat the small stuff.
    Feeding the kids mac and cheese to feed donuts to others is not the small stuff. I will never give others a luxury rather than give my family the basics. I would hazard to say that my CI/ staff would not want or advise me to either. I sure as heck never want to taste that doughnut myself.
  10. by   BeccaznRN
    Oh, I learned very early on to "just say no." At first I felt guilty, but if you just don't have the extra cash to spend then you don't have it. Everyone has heard the phrase "poor college student," and most (if not all) of my clinical groups have just gotten the instructor a card that everyone signs. Is a gift really necessary for every instructor? I'd be so much more broke than I am now!
  11. by   BonnieSc
    Yes, your own needs (including feeding your kids actual food) are DEFINITELY more important that any clinical instructor / floor staff gift. My goodness! Imagine how your clinical instructor would feel if she heard one of you was doing that! (I know the OP is not advocating this.)

    The suggestion about offering to get the paper goods is great. I also suggest that you be proactive (not that this will help you this semester...) and offer to be the one in charge of instructor / staff gifts--that way you can be a bigger part of setting the price.

    If you're reading this and you're part of buying your CI gifts this semester, PLEASE take the OP's posting to heart. It's hard to be the one who feels like she can't pay that much. Because I used to have a really poor financial situation and I know what that's like, when I'm in charge of the gifts I ALWAYS specify that people should contribute whatever they feel like they can afford. I make the contributions private (I send around an envelope and people check off their names when they pass it on, even if they can't put anything in--that way I know everyone's had the opportunity). This works best if you haven't bought the gift yet; in that case I usually say "$5 at most" and that gives us $40-$50 to spend. If the gift has already been purchased, I tell them that I'll make up the difference if necessary, and usually one or two others tell me privately to let them know if I need more. It's never been more than a couple of dollars.

    Good luck!
  12. by   s.carter
    I agree to pay less if you cant afford the money, but flat out saying no is rude. I am sure every person could spare a token dollar or two. I mean come on if you cant afford ten dollars offer a dollar or two in order to show respect. I know I am broke and I know that others are also but I think even a homeless person could scrounge up a dollar.
  13. by   BonnieSc
    First, it is really quite possible to have so little money that giving a dollar or two is not practical. Believe me.

    The OP, I think, just wants the option to give less, which her group isn't really giving her; but others are saying, and I definitely agree with their point (although I choose to give gifts), that there are MANY ways to show respect that don't involve spending any money at all. Why should giving sincere thanks be seen as less respectful than contributing five dollars toward a Starbucks gift card? I'm pretty certain that every single clinical instructor out there would agree with me. I know that takes in a lot of territory, but any instructor who feels that she is owed gifts isn't anyone I'd want to have teaching at my school.
  14. by   BeccaznRN
    Quote from Wendy79
    ...any instructor who feels that she is owed gifts isn't anyone I'd want to have teaching at my school.
    Well said.

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