Is Getting Into Nursing School Earlier Worth A Four Year Contract?

Posted

I thought you guys would be interested in this because I know getting into nursing schools with waiting lists is a big deal. I have a friend who's been waiting two years to get in, and has one more year to go before she starts. Most students are in her position and are also waiting two years.

So ... as a solution, the school has worked out a deal with two local hospitals. They pay for everything, and you go to school nights and do labs and clinicals on weekends because the classrooms and lab is available during those times. It's going to cost the hospitals $33,000 per student to do this because the state is not going to subsidize the cost of these extra students. The hospitals are basically paying the school to do this.

Because it's going to cost the hospitals so much, they're requiring the students to sign a four year contract to work there when they graduate. I don't know for sure but, I think they're also going to require the students to work as CNA's during school, since they've required us to work as CNA's when we've done externships there.

So, even though you will have tons of other job choices when you do graduate, you'll have to work for those hospitals for four years. One of the hospitals is an absolute nightmare to work for and, the reason they're probably doing this is because none of us current students who have worked as externs and done clinicals there before will work there. In the last graduating class of 30 or more students only three people went to work there. The other hospital is better but, there are also better job options out there than what they have to offer.

So ... would it still be worth it to you? I'm trying to advise my friend on this but, I may be biased because I didn't have to wait two years to get into school. On the other hand, she only has one more year to go and, when you do get into school and start doing clinicals at all of these different hospitals, you do realize how many options are out there and how crazy it can be to lock yourself into one place for four years.

All of us who are in school have changed our minds ten times when it comes to decisions about where we want to work because there's so many things we can do and places where we can work. I guess that's why a four year commitment seems really long to me, and not necessarily worth it. But, like I said, that's easy for me to say since I don't have much longer to go before I graduate, which is why I'm asking for your opinion.

What do you think?

:typing

sweet tooth

sweet tooth

50 Posts

I guess it all depends on what is going on in your friend's life as to whether or not she should wait another year. Four yrs sounds like a very long time to work if it turns out to be a miserable situation. Personally, I would wait it out. Is there any chance she could get in sooner if others take this night option?

Sheri257

Sheri257

3,905 Posts

Personally, I would wait it out. Is there any chance she could get in sooner if others take this night option?

That's a good question and we're trying to find out the answer. These hospitals are taking 20 students total, and that could make a substantial difference in the waiting list and, maybe even push her up another semester. But, at least for now, the school won't tell her what her ranking is on the waiting list, so it's difficult to estimate what her chances are of saving a semester.

:typing

NurseyBaby'05, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology. 1,110 Posts

Absolutely not! Four years is a long time. It would be at least a six year committment when you really think about it. Two years while in school and four after graduation. What if something happens where you can't finish on time? Is that considered breach of contract? What if you become ill or injured or move during your four year committment? You will have to repay a lot of money that you may not have. Look at the long term, big picture. When I was graduating a lot of prople were committing to a certain hospital system around here that was offering a $8000.00 "loan forgiveness" (aka sign-on) for a three year committment in a high need area. They were cutting the check when you signed on. Imagine how that looked to a stressed, tired, cash strapped student with a semester and a half to go. Well, some people didn't pass the 3rd or 4th semester and had to pay it back. Some people started to work on the floors they signed on to work at and were forced to transfer to a higher need floor and put their licenses' in jeopardy. One had her third child and was not able to afford daycare for three kids and they told her she could work casual and be ok. She wound up having to pay back the money because she wasn't full time. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the quick fix is not always the most beneficial in the long run.

Sheri257

Sheri257

3,905 Posts

Absolutely not! Four years is a long time. It would be at least a six year committment when you really think about it. Two years while in school and four after graduation. What if something happens where you can't finish on time? Is that considered breach of contract? What if you become ill or injured or move during your four year committment? You will have to repay a lot of money that you may not have. Look at the long term, big picture. When I was graduating a lot of prople were committing to a certain hospital system around here that was offering a $8000.00 "loan forgiveness" (aka sign-on) for a three year committment in a high need area. They were cutting the check when you signed on. Imagine how that looked to a stressed, tired, cash strapped student with a semester and a half to go. Well, some people didn't pass the 3rd or 4th semester and had to pay it back. Some people started to work on the floors they signed on to work at and were forced to transfer to a higher need floor and put their licenses' in jeopardy. One had her third child and was not able to afford daycare for three kids and they told her she could work casual and be ok. She wound up having to pay back the money because she wasn't full time. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the quick fix is not always the most beneficial in the long run.

You raise some excellent points. What's also making me suspicious about this deal is that they're only giving people ten days to apply and, if they're accepted, they're supposed to start some kind of orientation in June (even though they won't officially start school until August).

That's not a lot of time to review whatever contract you would have to sign. As of now, they're not giving them anything in writing to review, just asking them to call, come in and then they'll get the information. So, my friend has no idea what the specific contractural obligations are if things go wrong ... like what you mentioned. Hopefully she'll find out soon but, so far, they haven't been forthcoming about the details.

:typing

MJJFan1

MJJFan1, BSN, RN

Specializes in Telemetry Med/Surg. Has 14 years experience. 203 Posts

IMO, contracts aren't the way to go unless you've exhausted every possible resource available. I'm also touchy on the subject of loans. With my expericence with contracts, (I'm a former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant) I'd tell you that they aren't worth it! Freedom is the best way to go-no obligations to anyone but yourself and family.

sunnyjohn

sunnyjohn

2,450 Posts

If I'd been on a waiting list a longggggg time and really had to get things moving for personal or family reasons I might consider this as long as the contract came with a reasonable buyout options!

Edit- I'd also want a promise of fair market wages (comporable to those of other RN's in the area/city), a reasonable shot in a choice of specialty areas as a new grad and no mandatory placement in a resource pool (unless your into that kind of thing, but as a new grad that would terrify me).

As you can see I'd only take that type of contract as a last resort.

Megsd

Megsd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro. 723 Posts

If the hospital seems sketchy, I definitely wouldn't do it. I'm hoping to do a "loan forgiveness" contract through one of our local health systems (has 3 hospitals, a home health company, and a few others) that will pay for my ABSN schooling in exchange for 3 years of employment, but I know enough nurses who have or do work for them (I currently work for the home health agency as an aide) that I trust it will be a good experience for me. If it were a hospital I knew treated their employees badly, I wouldn't even consider it. As someone else said, 4 years is a long time!

Sheri257

Sheri257

3,905 Posts

If it were a hospital I knew treated their employees badly, I wouldn't even consider it. As someone else said, 4 years is a long time!

While one of the hospitals is bad, the other one is ok. A lot of people who work there do seem to be happy. It's just that their pay and benefits isn't as good as other jobs. If the requirement was two years for that hospital then, I'd say go for it, especially if you had two years to wait. But four years does seem to be an awfully long time to be locked into any job.

:typing

Faeriewand, ASN, RN

Specializes in med/surg/tele/neuro/rehab/corrections. Has 12 years experience. 1,800 Posts

After waiting for 2 years already I don't think your friend should take the indentured servant rout. She might not have that long to go. When students apply to nursing school they apply all over but they can only accept on one. So your friend might get in sooner than she thinks. Around here they tell everyone 4 years but the wait is really 2 because everyone applies to all the schools around. Even the schools give out papers on other schools to apply to.

Please keep us posted on what your friend's decision is. :)

Galore

Galore

234 Posts

I would probably pass on that because 4 years is too long to work somewhere where you're miserable and can't leave. I'm only 1 1/2 years into my current profession and am dying to get out!

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience. 4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

This is the modern day twist on what was done years and years ago. To be a nurse women would go into nursing programs actually supported by hospitals. The hospital supplied dormitories for the nurses as well as class instruction. But in return, the students had to work regular shifts in the hospital. This is how they got their clinical experience.

With the costs of education, it's a good deal. It's a hospital's way of trying to solve their own nursing shortage and high turnover problem. The turnover rate in hospitals is high across the country. The fact is that the hospital cannot force anyone to work there against their will after graduation. However, they can, and probably do write it into their contracts, that they have to pay back the cost of their education plus interest if they break the contract and leave their employment.

I went to nursing school and worked in a area where a good many of the nurses all came through the same school of nursing. There is a great deal of camaraderie that exists between alumna from the same school. This could end up being a plus or a big headache for the hospital. If conditions are really as bad as you say, enough of these former students could form a powerful force for the administration to have to reckon with if they decide they want to get some changes enforced. These former students can also go back to the instructors of the nursing program and tell their tales of woe. The nursing school may then better prepare future students for what lies ahead of them.

I say it's a wonderful opportunity. Try to see the positive aspects of it and what the ultimate rewards the hospital is trying to glean from it. It may be a rough go at first as some dead wood gets cleared out of the hospital, but I think in the long run this is going to be a great solution to a big problem and things will probably get a lot better for the nurses in this hospital.

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