did I kill my chances of ever working again?

  1. 2 years ago I took a contract at a facility owned by a giant corporation. Actually I was supposed to float between two of their facilities. Facility #1 gave me 15-20 hours a week (the facility was a small group home and they didn't have full-time hours).

    Facility #2, a regular SNF, gave me nothing the first two weeks because their census was low, then 2 hours the third week (not a typo! two hours). The fourth week I got an angry text from Facility #2 saying that they had scheduled me for a full day and where was I? I swear I did not get any text or email from that facility informing me that they had hours for me. And I didn't think to automatically go there without notification, because so far in the three weeks since I started the contract, they had only had me do ONE new pt admit (hence the 2 hours of work).

    After that my recruiter said that the DON at Facility #2 was offended about the miscommunication and considered me a no-show and was using PRNs instead of scheduling me. My stipend and pay were getting cut because I wasn't working full time hours in facility #1, so I talked to the DON there and explained that I had to give 30 days' notice. She was actually really understanding and thanked me for giving 30 days (only two weeks were required in my contract).

    I want to get back into travel therapy, but I'm worried that I'm wasting my time because what if this experience has made me ineligible to work in any facilities owned by this corporation? Do entire companies blackball travel RNs for situations like what I've described? I suppose I could request that my new recruiter/agency not submit me for any contracts owned by this corporation, but they seem to own so much of the market that I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get any contracts.

    I would be really grateful for any advice you could give me re: the best way to go about getting another contract. Thanks in advance.
  2. Visit pookashellz profile page

    About pookashellz

    Joined: Sep '15; Posts: 56; Likes: 39

    12 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Two years ago you took a contract with this corporation and left after two months due to an error in communication between you and one of their facilities. Did you discuss with the facility involved either before or since the scheduling snafu to discover where the problem occurred? What have you been doing since that time? It seems that a track record of reliability at your current job ought to have some sway. Assuming that you left the first facility on good terms, that ought to help as well. Could you have a friend call the corporation involved and pretend to be checking reference prior to hiring you -- just to find out what they would say about you?
  4. by   NedRN
    The huge corporations that come to mind are HCA, Tenent, Kaiser, and Banner. Maybe Cleveland. One of those?

    All of them have mechanisms to blackball any name from all there institutions but I would consider it unlikely.

    Easy to find out though. Just have an agency submit you to a facility in question. That will generate a quick no and why.

    It is possible to fix this, but it can be hard. Unless you must work in the south, it is usually not worth the bother. Plenty of facilities left to choose from.
  5. by   pookashellz
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    Two years ago you took a contract with this corporation and left after two months due to an error in communication between you and one of their facilities. Did you discuss with the facility involved either before or since the scheduling snafu to discover where the problem occurred? What have you been doing since that time? It seems that a track record of reliability at your current job ought to have some sway. Assuming that you left the first facility on good terms, that ought to help as well.
    Yes, but it didn't go well- I apologized for not coming in and explained that I had not received any notification that they were going to start putting me on their schedule. The DON said "well I sent you a text; I don't know why you didn't get it, but I accept your apology". (And then apparently held a grudge and started using PRNs to cover their scheduling needs instead of putting me on schedule.)

    And yes, I did leave Facility #1 on good terms, and have been working at my current job for 3 years and counting.

    Could you have a friend call the corporation involved and pretend to be checking reference prior to hiring you -- just to find out what they would say about you?
    That might actually be a good idea. I'm not sure that I or a friend could convincingly do that, but there are companies who check references for the purpose of reporting back to you what they're saying- that might be a useful investment.
  6. by   pookashellz
    Quote from NedRN
    The huge corporations that come to mind are HCA, Tenent, Kaiser, and Banner. Maybe Cleveland. One of those?

    All of them have mechanisms to blackball any name from all there institutions but I would consider it unlikely.

    Easy to find out though. Just have an agency submit you to a facility in question. That will generate a quick no and why.

    It is possible to fix this, but it can be hard. Unless you must work in the south, it is usually not worth the bother. Plenty of facilities left to choose from.
    Yep, it was one of those. And yes I have to work in my home state for the next several years because I am the primary caregiver for a family member. So maybe I should count on just being submitted to other companies instead?
  7. by   NedRN
    Wouldn't a staff job pay better when you factor in the benefits?
  8. by   pookashellz
    Quote from NedRN
    Wouldn't a staff job pay better when you factor in the benefits?
    No, it has to be agency (which is what I'm doing now) and contract work because to be honest, I don't want to be a nurse. Getting into this was a mistake, and now I have to pick the job with the highest actual pay (and ideally tax-free stipends) so I can blow through my student loan debt and then make a career change.
  9. by   NedRN
    Interesting story. Nursing has an incredibly wide variety of roles, including some without patient contact. One might be a good fit for you.

    Be careful about tax free stipends if you are commuting from home as they are taxable income. Even hotel stays will have to be prorated. The only way to be eligible for the entire stipend to be tax free is to have a work requirement (such as a reasonable need for sleep between shifts) that requires lodging nearby, and is obtained for the entire period. Otherwise, you may put yourself at risk for a huge debt to the IRS if you are audited.
  10. by   CFrancine
    Hey Ned, are you saying that if you don't live away from home throughout your entire assignment, you can't get tax free money? I have a coworker that travels a couple hours away. She only stays the night when working shifts in a row. She books rooms for the night ad needed. Does she actually not qualify?
  11. by   NedRN
    She has to prorate the stipends. The proportion of stipends for the days at home are taxable. If you arrange housing for the entire assignment, then the housing stipend is all yours, but the meals would still be prorated. Interestingly, you could perhaps arrange a houseshare for the entire time with a lower cost than the hotel cost for several nights a week, and now be able to accept the entire housing stipend.

    It is worth a free consult with an expert like TravelTax about related details. She is accumulating significant mileage which is a business expense and deductible. That can be used to offset the taxable proportion of the received stipends. If mileage deductions exceed that, no stipend income needs to be reported (and the excess mileage can be itemized at the end of the year).

    Either way, careful records should be kept in case of an audit. No documentation means the IRS can and will charge back taxes, interest, and penalties on all such stipends going back years.
  12. by   pookashellz
    Quote from NedRN

    Be careful about tax free stipends if you are commuting from home as they are taxable income. Even hotel stays will have to be prorated. The only way to be eligible for the entire stipend to be tax free is to have a work requirement (such as a reasonable need for sleep between shifts) that requires lodging nearby, and is obtained for the entire period. Otherwise, you may put yourself at risk for a huge debt to the IRS if you are audited.
    I know. When I did a local contract before, I made sure it was 50+ miles from my tax home, and I stayed with my aunt while working and paid her rent (via online banking so I could create receipts as proof).

    Really the only thing I'm worried about is being blackballed because my second travel contract didn't go well.
  13. by   NedRN
    Agencies may apply their own 50 mile criteria, but that is not the IRS criteria. Lots of folks commute over 50 miles to work.

    Having receipts is excellent, but if you are audited (knock on wood), go back to your aunt and get a rental agreement to show it covered the entire period.
  14. by   SusanRaff
    You say you hate nursing but there are many options to choose from in nursing. Once you have some experience under your belt you can try applying for some of these types of positions. It might be less expensive then changing fields. You might find something you like.

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