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  1. brandy1017

    How to retain nurses?

    You misunderstand the rationale behind performance evals. They are not really meant to reward workers, rather they are a cost cutting measure whereby management creates a budget say 2% across the board for everyone so that for someone to get exceptional say a 4% another person has to get 0% to even out the budget. Everyone jumps on the performance eval thinking they are exceptional and are going to make more money, but the reality is unless you are a favorite you will probably just get the average, mediocre 2%. As to doing others work, that should stop. You should speak to your manager and then it is their job to discipline the problem coworker. Truthfully if a person was doing so poorly that they shouldn't get a raise, then in truth they shouldn't have a job!
  2. brandy1017

    Fired two times and unable to get job now

    It's too bad you didn't use FMLA to protect yourself and your job. If you had FMLA they wouldn't be able to hold your absences against you. How long were you at the last job? Can you leave it off your resume? Do you have solid references? Otherwise, you may have to mention during the interview that you were having health and family problems then and reassure them that they are now resolved. Also, it is harder to get a job when you are older, especially in hospitals. You cost more and hospitals are so corporate nowadays they really prefer new grads. Some without union protections regularly lay off older workers without any reason such as absences. When you get a new job you really have to buckle down and not call in sick excessively. You did not take the warnings seriously! A lot of places these days are not sympathetic and will write you up and terminate you as you've discovered. You need to know the sick policy some places have as little as 3 days a year, the more generous might have 5 to 8 depending if you are full time and then on a rolling calendar year. You need to keep a record of when you call in and if you need to call in more than you can, you had better get FMLA to protect yourself. Now you have to be working at a place for a year to qualify for FMLA, it is not automatic when you start a new job. To find a job now you may need to reach out to other places such as nursing homes, assisted living, group homes, psych, dialysis or even consider prison or jail. Others suggested agency or travel nursing. I suggest you reach out in person and use linked in to find out who the manager is and then write a personal cover letter to the manager attached with your resume, especially to smaller places to get past HR and the computerized job filters that block older nurses from getting a job. Be aware you may need to take a pay cut to get a job. Be friendly, bubbly and positive when you make these in person visits. Also, it is a terrible idea to spend your retirement money because unless you were 55 or older when you left your last job you will now have to pay a 10% federal, plus possibly state penalty as well as taxes on that money. It would have been better to cut your expenses and try to get by on your husband's income instead. Definitely, seek credit counseling and determine whether you can pay your bills back in 3-5 years or if bankruptcy is appropriate instead. This is also why it is such a bad idea to use your retirement because retirement money is protected in bankruptcy, but most people spend down their retirement instead of using credit cards and/or filing for bankruptcy. Be aware though that there are no bankruptcy options for student loans. I suggest reading Deal with Your Debt by Liz Weston and All You're Worth by Elizabeth Warren, the congresswoman and current Democratic Presidential candidate. Both discuss budgets, financial strategy for debt and considering bankruptcy when appropriate. I wish you the best of luck with your marriage and finding a job. FYI if worst case scenario you end up divorcing, you are entitled to half your spouse's social security if his is larger than yours and you've been married for at least 10 years. Keep that in mind.
  3. Absolutely do not due this to yourself! Look up www.studentloanjustice.org and read the horror stories of college students and grads who couldn't pay their loans and ended up in default. Student loans are the worst and riskiest debt out there. There are no bankruptcy options if you fall on hard times. They will literally, and are currently garnishing over 100,000 senior citizens social security checks as we speak for unpaid loans. If you default the loan can double and triple due to high interest and fees including a 25% fee tacked on the loans! People have committed suicide over student loans! In some states you can lose your license to practice nursing or any other job that requires a license if you default. A few states will take your drivers license away if you default. A person defaults by missing only 9 months of payments. At first you can get by with deferments and forbearances, but in most instances the interest accumulates and capitalizes causing your loan balance to spiral even higher out of control. In the end you will find yourself much worse off and it will take decades and possibly the rest of your life to pay the loans off. In the meantime you will not have the money to pay your living expenses, let alone save for retirement. Also student loan forgiveness is a scam and a lie. The 10 year public service loan forgiveness program rejected over 99% of the people enrolled in the program! You read that right, less than 1% of "eligible" people were granted loan forgiveness, most often rejected for technicalities that know one could even know or foresee, everything from the wrong loans, wrong payment plan to consolidating starts the clock over, and you have to make ten years of on time payments to have any chance at all. The path you are contemplating is the definition of insanity! To spend $85,000 with no guarantee to be accepted into the nursing program, you would be better off gambling in Vegas, you could actually declare bankruptcy if you fell into debt that way. I'm guessing your credits won't transfer because you were tricked into a for profit school and this one is the same. Go the slow, sensible route such as a public community college RN program, even consider an LPN program with a one year bridge to RN. Most BSN's aren't even paid more and we are all paid the same at the starting gate regardless of how much money we spent. Absolutely take the time to read up on personal finance such as Personal Finance for Dummies, Deal with Your Debt, Your Credit Score, Smart Women Finish Rich. Take a low cost personal finance course if you have the opportunity. Read and learn all you can about money. As a single mom you need to make the most of every dollar you earn. Lastly don't blindly jump on the nursing bandwagon. Consider alternate careers such as ultrasound tech, radiology tech and nuclear med tech. Research allied health jobs. Nursing is a very high stress job and, if you work in direct patient care, dangerous to your body with a high risk of back, shoulder and neck injuries that in some instances are crippling and life altering. Really think long and hard before you pursue nursing. If I had to do it all over I wouldn't choose nursing. I wish I had known about other options such as ultrasound tech, I think that is the best job out there for pay and working conditions in the health field. Good luck to you!
  4. brandy1017

    Are Nurses Oppressed?

    I don't think there are enough perks to call it golden handcuffs, maybe brass. lol I too work nights and am aware of the studies of increased cancer rates and many other chronic health problems. But frankly it isn't so much about extra pay, although that is nice, it is more about peace of mind because nights is calmer. I don't know how the nurses on days manage they don't have a moment of peace, they are always being interrupted by someone and there isn't any downtime, at least on nights once PM's is over things start to wind down.
  5. brandy1017

    Are Nurses Oppressed?

    Sounds like hell. I don't know how nurses deal with the challenges of LTC. The insanely high ratios. My coworker's wife, also a nurse had 40 patients at night, but when they were short they actually gave her 80 patients one night. Totally unsafe and insane. Also your hands are tied behind your back with all the rules such as no restraints and no meds. How can you possibly keep the patients safe from falling under those conditions? It is impossible. Then the utter ignorance and condescension to tell you to smile more, smile all the time. Glad you were able to get out of there!
  6. brandy1017

    Are Nurses Oppressed?

    Sorry, but I don't work where the National Nurses United are. I wish! Also not all unions are effective as the National Nurses United have been. Frankly when we are dealing with the corporate takeover of healthcare where nurses have been turned into replaceable widgets we need all the help we can get! Shared governance is not a replacement for a strong effective union when they get better working conditions as they have been successful in CA everyone benefits, not just the nurses, but especially the patients.
  7. brandy1017

    Are Nurses Oppressed?

    Speaking the truth about the abusive conditions many bedside nurses work under doesn't mean we are victims. Why did it take an act of Congress to get safe needles in hospitals that were available for 10 years! Why did it take a state law to get safe staffing ratios passed in California! Because hospitals don't care about nurses safety nor do they really care about patient safety, they mainly care about how much they can get away with to save money. They have risk managers and lawyers to protect them if someone files a lawsuit because they were harmed. In that way they are like Ford when it decided not to fix the Ford Pinto and let people burn to death rather than recall the car because it was cheaper. Eventually after the infamous Pinto memo was exposed they were forced to recall the cars. Ok that is a dramatic example, but we all know that the constant short staffing and high patient ratios endanger patient safety and even increase the risk of death. If money were not more important hospitals wouldn't be fighting against a no lift environment and safe staffing ratios! It really is all about the money. I believe unions are the real answer, but not just any union. I would like to see the National Nurses United expand across the country and give nurses a true voice. Shared governance is more like a pat on the head and from what I've seen myself and heard from others; it really doesn't empower nurses because money seems to always get in the way when nurses speak up for improvements. As to nurses complain too much and all workers are treated poorly, nurses are the one with the ultimate responsibility for their patients' safety. Also, nurses are the only worker expected to do every other staff members job besides their own. They have a right to speak out and fight for better working conditions. When they are successful, patients benefit the most!
  8. brandy1017

    Over 70% of Nurse Staff Turnover is Due to Bad Leadership

    Overall I've been fortunate to have supportive managers and one really great boss, best I ever had, who really pitched in and helped and had your back. However the problems I've dealt with ran the gamut from bullying, thankfully I outlasted the culprit who ended up demoted and left of her own accord to now the corporate destruction of healthcare. While I agree a bad boss can cause employee turnover, some of the main reasons for turnover are poor working conditions and high patient ratios that come down from corporate on high. I don't think bedside nursing will stop the bleeding of staff until they lower the patient ratios, provide adequate staff, and supplies and I don't see that happening unless more states or ideally the federal govt enacts a patient ratio law like California has, along with a no lift environment. There are just too many negatives to stay in bedside nursing the constant short staffing, foley free environment, constant neverending alarms, back-breaking work without lift equipment down to the scripting of nurses.
  9. brandy1017

    Severely burnt out. Nursing home vs. tele unit?

    I would look into finding a clinic job that would probably give you the best quality of life and less stress. The nurses I know that work in the clinics are the happiest and the worst thing they say is sometimes it is boring. Well boring is not stressful, right!
  10. brandy1017

    Dismissed From Nursing School, Not Sure What To Do Now

    So you said you were studying. What do you think the problem is? Too large inpersonal class size? Working too much and not having enough time to study? Taking too many classes at one time? You have to analyze what went wrong if you are to succeed. You may need to cut back on working, take less classes, transfer to a smaller, private, non-profit school where you can get smaller class sizes and more individual attention. I went to school eons ago, but I actually supplemented my reading and studying materials with actual board review books focusing on the area of nursing we were studying. Now it is probably a CDROM, but that may help since exams are based to prepare you to pass the NCLEX in the end. Are you reading the books? Don't skip that. As another OP said your "passion" to be a nurse may lead to a real let down if and when you become a nurse and are faced with the reality of nursing rather than the ideal you have in your head. Also consider other healthcare jobs such as ultrasound tech. Look into that some places even offer a BS in it vs just an associates. I think it is a better alternative to nursing, less stress, work with one patient at a time, have a good schedule and quality of life and as good or better pay than nursing and can specialize in the heart or OB etc. I wouldn't pursue a biology degree just for the hell of it as it will only waste your time and money and will lead to more student loans to be paid back. It is really only a stepping stone degree to use for premed or maybe to advance to a Masters of Physical Therapy, which is another career option you could consider looking into.
  11. brandy1017

    41 yr. old business executive going to Nursing School

    Agree in general, except that pensions are mostly gone these days even in healthcare. My hospital froze ours after it was acquired by a national chain, but also it was a church pension anyway therefore it didn't even pay into the gov't insurance pension plan so if it goes bankrupt you are out of luck and this unfortunately has been happening to people already!
  12. brandy1017

    41 yr. old business executive going to Nursing School

    I wouldn't recommend it either if you are used to working as a corporate executive you will not like the way nurses and even NP's are treated by hospital management. Also think long and hard about taking out student debt. If your goal is DNP then you should have a passion for medicine, and feel confident making treatment decisions. Bedside nursing is very stressful, but NP's face a different stress of making the right treatment decisions while under the same time pressure of seeing a different patient every ten minutes or less! If you have anxiety in general or over uncertainty this would also not be a good field for you. Feel free to read thru the many posts on here to get an idea of what the working conditions are like for both bedside nurses and NP's before you take money out of your IRA. Even if your end goal is NP, most NP's work as bedside nurses during school to get some nursing experience and network with doctors. Healthcare is run like a business these days practically down to a stop watch, it is pretty hard to feel like you make a difference when you are burnt out and stressed out from being short staffed! Even doctors are in general unhappy over the state of things and NP's may like their job better because they have experienced the crappy working conditions of bedside nursing so being an NP is still better than it used to be. I'm not an NP, but I've watched many new grads go back for their NP and most were happier, sometimes they needed to change jobs a few times to find the right fit. Keep in mind as an NP things could be more expensive such as needing malpractice insurance, continuing education and even paying for your own health insurance if you are not employed by a hospital system. Personally unless this was a true lifelong desire I wouldn't advise you to pull out retirement money and take on student loans. I did work with an older nurse who did just that, basically pulled out all her retirement to attend an expensive private school and graduated in her late 50's or early 60's. The only thing that saved her financially is that sadly her family died unexpectedly and she received a large inheritance otherwise she had nothing left. She quit nursing after that and retired once money was no longer an issue.
  13. brandy1017

    Seasoned Nurses - This one is for you

    Advances that are used to decrease staffing which only increases nurse stress levels such as getting rid of tele monitor techs and putting out lots of tele monitors and loud alarms everywhere so you are basically tortured by alarms for the entire 12 hour shift and adding tele alarms onto a phone so even when you get a call from a Dr you can't hear because the alarms are ringing, 90% false while you are trying to listen! Likewise getting rid of sitters for video monitors with cameras and a remote person that is supposed to watch your confused problem patients and tell them not to get out of bed and call you and/or ring an alarm if they start getting up or pulling at their IV or essential equipment. Again another blaring alarm to torment us. I'm giving report and hearing a loud alarm and asking where is it coming from it sounded like a code alarm, oh that's the video monitor. Wow! And let's not forget the BIPAP's that are being frequently used to prevent intubation and many times the patients kept on the floor even over 40% when they are supposed to be in ICU and their very loud disruptive alarms! I hate the alarms! On the other hand, I like the lift equipment like sit to stands and hover mats that help us safely move patients where before we had to hoist them with our bare hands and back. Ceilings lifts would be even better but we don't have them, not in the budget.
  14. brandy1017

    I Make Less Than a Brand New Nurse, Why?

    So how does your pay compare to your prior pay at your last job? Is it the same or a raise and if so how much of a raise. How much do you think your prior pay has to do with your present pay? Did you try to negotiate for more at the time of hire? Have you tried to negotiate for more since you found out your coworkers are making significantly more? A lower salary history can follow you and negatively affect you throughout your career. MA signed a law forbidding employers asking salary history to try to stop discrimination and help workers combat low wages from affecting them for the rest of their lives. Since it is known that women and minorities many times are paid less than white men such a law would hopefully help put an end to such wage inequities. Have you looked at glassdoor.com or indeed.com to see what the average salary range is for your job at your present company and the other companies you have interviewed for? Curious if your pay or your co-workers pay is more typical according to the job sites that would give you more info if their pay is due to family connections and if not hopefully give you more bargaining power. While it is good to negotiate that doesn't always mean employers are willing to increase starting pay. I've heard from coworkers looking for other jobs that they are low balled offered pay cuts to only the same pay they already make so they have been staying at their present job while looking for a better one. It is frustrating. I don't know how much of it is sex discrimination vs just employers being cheap and greedy! It makes you wonder that's for sure! If you have the option of going back to older employers have you tried to see if you could get a pay raise if you would go back to one of them? I wish you luck on getting paid what you are worth.
  15. brandy1017

    without a job until after new years

    That is a very real danger, you don't know if the man you're with will be the sadistic maniac wannabe Ted Bundy or another evil serial killer. There are too many crazies out there it would not be worth the risk aside from the ever present risks of STD's like HIV, hep C or herpes. Serial killers are known to use prostitutes as their hunting grounds when they are looking for their next victim.