Hired @ VA PerDiem but lowballed

Specialties Government


Specializes in CVICU.

Hello everyone. Well I am really excited to start working at the VA. Im also an Army Reservist and figure I will genuinely enjoy this patient population. I am also aware that the working conditions will most likely be pretty decent. So I am excited! Problem is that I got hired as Perdiem temporary position. Only VA vacancy in my market for several years. The Director on my floor im going to says she needs people pretty bad. So Im excited to get my foot in the door. Though a letter I recieved upon hiring says I shall not recieve any preferential hiring. Not sure if that is legal mumbo jumbo and in reality if I do good I would have inside track on getting any openeings?

Anyhow, my perdiem pay offer from VA is considerably lower than civilian hospitals in this area, 10-14$ less than what I already make at other agencys in town that are calling me off the hook. I also have no benefits with VA as its temp perdiem for unspecified amount of time and subject to termination at any time. I still had to go through the whole hiring rigormarole with background/drugscreen/interviews,etc. Interviewed last Feb and am set to start end of Aug., LOL!

So my questions are, Should I bring up pay or is it one of those things where just take what I get and be happy to get my foot in door? How long would you guys take that pay cut for 0pportunity to maybe one day get that full time spot? Oh ya, there was tons of people that wanted this job as my local VA is really hard to get hired at for the last couple years. Problem is I make that extra 10-14 working at my other 2 agency jobs that have work for me every night!$%

Anyhow, any thoughts you guys have are appreciated. Thanks...

In the Bay Area where I work, there have already been rumors of new contracts being created where the pay for new hires will be at least $10-$20/hr LESS than what new hires have normally been starting at for the past 10ish years. The high salary of RNs here in the Bay Area is a relatively new concept, as the nursing shortage was dire up until the past few years.

It will be very interesting to see if/how RN salaries will be affected by the worsening economy, the lack of RN positions & the surplus of job seekers. I am surprised at the OP - per diems typically make the most per hour where I work.

Guess it boils down to how badly you want the opportunity. I would try to make this new job mesh in with taking shifts from the other agencies as long as possible. At some point you will be able to go full time, so the picture will change, and you might need to make a different decision. Congrats on getting on with the VA! Easier said than done most of the time!

Specializes in Trauma-Surgical, Case Management, Clinic.

I would mention the pay rate, it couldn't hurt. I would continue the agency work while working at the VA to balance out the salary difference. This is your way to get your foot in the door and it will pay off in the long run hopefully.

Specializes in CVICU.

Well I did write to the HR contact and told her the pay offer seemed unusually low for perdiem in my market and outlined several major hospitals and chains and what their per diem pay was. I also mentioned that it seemed the pay I was offered seemed more like the pay of a regular full time with benefits employee. She responded back saying that yes its the same pay a regular employee would get minus the benefits because this VA hasnt established a seperate paystructure for perdiem nurses. So shes not able to offer any other salary. Pretty annoying in my book. Oh well, thanks for the comments everyone. Im leaning towards just going with it and doing my minimum 1 shift a week and hoping something opens up full time. BTW, my pay offer is decent had it been for full time with benefets and I would of been very happy at that point...

Interesting about the per diem pay. I work full time at a VA hospital where they just posted the creation of a float pool (per diem) and I assumed the pay would be more than a full time RN.

Specializes in CVICU.

Ya I thought it was more than interesting, mostly insulting. It bothers me. The recruiter basically said take it or leave it because this VA hasn't established seperate pay scale for per diem. I know per diem is new at this VA and the gov is very slow to get some things done. That is basically what's keeping me positive about it. Though I will be loosing a fair amount of money each shift I'm there. I wish there was someone to adress the fact they plan to pay perdiem quit a bit less than regular staff.

Hi nursie_nursie_415!

Do you know if the new contracts for new hires with $10-$20/hr less has been instituted or just one of those work-place "rumors"? I have to admit, this doesn't make sense. Theoretically this could work against the facility as exceptionally qualified nurses would not bother to apply there. VA needs exceptionally qualified nurses. They contribute to the overall quality of care and reputation of care at the facility. I was under the impression that the VA offers somewhat of competitive wages of the area. Yes, they do pay a little lower but no other facility can come close to matching the benefits!

Recently left the VA and was offered a position to stay in the float pool working per diem. I considered it until I was told my pay would be the same hourly as I was making -8% retention bonus I was receiving and no benefits.

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

Problem is the federal government really does not have a per diem pay schedule. It is the same in the GS system that you get paid basiclly the same no matter if you are per diem or full time. The preferential hiring depends on how much active duty time you have unless you have a VA disability rating > 30%. Being a reservist without any active duty time will not get you any preferential hiring.

Specializes in Nursing Education, Med-Surg, Home Health, Travel.

Hey! I'm still fairly new so I'm not able to send private messages. So I hope you see this in response to the message you sent me!

If you're thinking of traveling I would definitely go with the VA. Since you're already a VA employee, you actually get to keep your health benefits, just no AL or SL accrual (so if you miss a day you day get paid). I've not had any trouble finding a place to work, but the assignments aren't always in places I would want to go; for example, I wanted to check out Austin, but Dallas was the closest I could get. Assignments are generally 13 weeks, but you can extend if you want. I've been in Chicago now for 5 months and will leave at the end of November. You can only stay in one place for 9 months though from what I understand. As far as pay goes, they board you when hired to determine your pay. Generally, you'll stay at the same grade and step as you are now. But their pay scale's a bit different so you start off at a higher rate. So for me, I started at almost $10,000 higher than when I worked full time. You get meals and incidentals on top of that, and housing covered up to a certain cost (I've never gone beyond their stipend). You only need to work one assignment per year to stay on as an employee. You should give it a shot! The application process did take me about 3 months just as a heads up (you know how the VA is!). It has been stressful at times, and an adventure for sure, but I'm so glad I did it! It's an ongoing learning process, but so worth it! Let me know if you have any other questions, I'd love to hear what you decide to do!

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