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RNs Being "Leased" Due to COVID shortage

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by Ohia lehua Ohia lehua (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Research.

Hi all. My hospital/clinic system is 3 legally separate entities run under an umbrella corporation. I work on the "outpatient" side as a clinical research nurse. I love my job, never wanted to work at the bedside. Because I took this job on the "clinic" side, it is non-union (hospital side is union). I feel my job is compensated fairly (I'm salary) but because we have no collective bargaining agreement, I make far less than hospital-side RNs. As of last Friday, we were informed that the umbrella corporation would be doing an employee audit and that we would be required to sign a lease agreement allowing the clinic side to send us to work on the hospital side for no increased benefits, pay, or union representation.

Our umbrella corporation had taken great pains in the last year to get our facilities compliant with CMS standards, and part of this has been drawing very strict and definite lines between which employees can work in which facilities on which campus. They have relocated and restructured entire departments and spent millions to achieve this.

I could go into all of the personal reasons why I do not want to go work in inpatient, much less work with COVID patients, but it isn't really relevant IMO. It's certainly unsafe, I could walk anyone through GCP/ICH regulations, perform system audits and do study feasibilities, but I haven't even done an I/O since nursing school.

Anyhow, I'm not down with this at all. Wondering if anyone else has seen or heard anything like this.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

We are looking at redeployment of all staff. They are looking at our periop staff to work in inpatient areas, the Covid call center, assisting with thermal scanning of all staff coming on shift, etc. Basically, it's come down to redeploy or use vacation time/take no pay.

CampyCamp, RN

Has 18 years experience.

Do you know how to expect to be utilized? Hopefully as a runner or "hands". Like an aide who can also hang a new IV bag or refill the tube feeds.

Ohia lehua

Specializes in Research.

Thanks for the replies. No idea how they'll utilize us. Just to reiterate, I do not work for the hospital they want to lease us to. Maybe that isn't odd, but you could liken it to being told that you will be loaned out to another institution.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Even though you aren't an employee of that hospital, you're still an employee of the corporate overlord. The overarching corporate body likely doesn't see it as loaning you out, but rather redistributing resources (as the corporate body can't 'loan' you to itself).

Under any other circumstance you might have some recourse, but considering the state of emergency, I doubt that any governing body (including CMS) would argue against this practice. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and so forth.

As you said, whether it's right or fair (or what you signed up for) is beside the point, since it won't change the outcome. It sucks, but everything kind of sucks right now.

It is pretty crappy that they wouldn't be paying you the hospital pay. Hopefully you'll at least be eligible for differentials. I'd also like to think that even though you wouldn't be represented by the union, the union would still be advocating for all nurses to get the supplies and support that they need right now.

Edited by adventure_rn

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

15 hours ago, Ohia lehua said:

Just to reiterate,  I do not work for the hospital they want to lease us to. Maybe that isn't odd, but you could liken it to being told that you will be loaned out to another institution.

But you still work for the parent organization. I work in an inpatient facility. All of our ambulatory areas that have closed have redeployed their staff, and yes, some of them came here to the inpatient building. I see it as the same for your situation. You aren’t redeploying to a completely different employer, just a different location.

waufah, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU,Tele,Interventional Radiology,PACU,Research. Has 14 years experience.

You should read your work contract to check if there is a clause they can do so.I am in Ireland and being redeployed to another unit to help during a staffing shortage is expected,part of the agreement with the union here I think(not 100% sure) I am not a member of the union,work in research in academia but I volunteered to be on call. These are critical times and they need every hand they can get. I havent done bedside nursing for a few years too but I know any help will be appreciated by my coworkers. Rule of thumb if you cant do it or not sure,then ask. You can also try to negotiate your pay or benefits to match the hospital nurses.

Ohia lehua

Specializes in Research.

14 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

But you still work for the parent organization. I work in an inpatient facility. All of our ambulatory areas that have closed have redeployed their staff, and yes, some of them came here to the inpatient building. I see it as the same for your situation. You aren’t redeploying to a completely different employer, just a different location.

Yes, and no. My check is not signed by the "hospital side", which has a completely different name, different admin, different policies. We will be asked to sign a literal lease agreement which specifically states our pay structure will not change. This means no differentials, and I'm on salary so they can concievably work me 60 hours per week if they want. I have no union protection and I'm just not going to be used like that.

Hopefully this will not come to pass, as we got an opportunity to offer a study that may help far more than me doing bedside care. Fingers crossed.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

My sister faced this when pre-op outpatient got slow. She was facing being sent home for an indefinite time, using up all her PTO. Instead, she emailed her manager, and is now working shifts in an inpatient hospital on the same hospital system. She says this saves her PTO and keeps her working when so many people in our area are unemployed. She likes the new place a lot and might stay on.