Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Others Know Best

I attended a meeting of the nurses' union.  I had the idea that if I requested a job description for my office position, this would be acceptable evidence to refuse to float to a ward.  My immediate supervisor in the office will not go against the nursing supervisors to prevent me from getting pulled; in fact, she is probably glad to be rid of me.

This did not work out as I envisioned.  At least I finally secured a copy of the contract, for whatever it is worth.

The leader told me that my job title never changed from staff nurse on the floor to Office Nurse, so the nursing supervisor could indeed assign me to work on a ward any day.

I was perturbed.  "I still have employees come up to me, angry, telling me that I took a job that belonged to them, or to Nurse Fortune.  You are now telling me that I don't actually have that job?"

"Well," the leader explained, "We did this as a favor to you.  If your official title is not staff nurse, then you cannot work on the floor and get overtime."

"First," I countered, "The people in charge of giving overtime assignments told me that I am not eligible for overtime.  I have worked maybe two overtime shifts since I went into the office, and only because there were severe call-outs and the hospital was desperate for coverage."

"Well, they are wrong.  You can get overtime.  You should inform them of this," the leader said.

"Nobody listens to me.  This needs to come from a higher authority," I implored.  "If someone else, such as Nurse Fortune, were given this office job, you could not pull her to work on the floor.  She would go beserk.  Yet this is done to me."

The leader explained that pulling me to work on the floor was again part of the courtesy afforded to me.  "As per JCAHO regulations, a nurse cannot work overtime in a direct-patient care role unless she has worked at least two shifts per month on the floor at regular pay."

"JCAHO is not concerned with overtime rates," I protested.  I pointed out a provision in the contract that said that nurses who transfer or get promoted to another position with a higher pay scale will receive a raise in pay.  "Is this why I never got a raise with the move?  The guy in Human Resources told me that they were doing me a 'favor' by not putting me on the higher pay scale because I would have to start over at the bottom, which is less than I make now.  That is against the contract, but it differed from your prior explanation that the advertised salary was 'a mistake'.  Now, if my job title was never changed, that explains why I got no raise."

"It was a courtesy to you," the leader continued.  "We could have given you the new job title and raise, but then you would not have been allowed to work overtime on a ward."

"Why didn't you present this 'courtesy' to me and let me choose if I wanted thousands of dollars in the form of a raise for no extra work, or if I wanted to take my chances and try to earn more by working extra shifts?  As it turns out, I have earned less in overtime for the past year than I would have received in that raise."

I felt like a stupid pushover fool.  My own union knew I was being duped and went along with it.

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