The way the situation began. I had a year of school left. I applied for a scholarship program and received $6000 for school. In return I would work at their facility for 42 months. I do not have the contract with me now. I will forward it later since I just joined your monthly service.
After I left the hospital approx. 6 months later, I received a call from a collection agency. I told them and wrote a letter declaring that the monies they were trying to collect was from a contract that had been broken and was not a valid debt.
I believe since they didn't provide a safe work environment they didn't hold up their end of the bargain.
I have not received anything that would indicate they have any kind of judgement against me.
During the time I was employed at the hospital, I made several complaint to my preceptors and appropriate supervisor. I also have copies of my orientation forms that prove I was to remain on orientation during the multiple times I was required to act as a nurse off orientation. The pay stubs I have also indicate that I received periodic pay as a nurse vs. an orientee. I did not write any letters formally complaining to the company at the time of employment for fear of losing my job.
Here is a copy of the letters I wrote.
To whom it may concern:
I am writing this letter in hopes that you will reconsider my position regarding repayment of the student loan I received.
I explained during the exit interview that the reason I left St. Alphonsus Ontario was to protect my license. It is of my opinion the St. Alphonsus did not provide a safe working environment which forced me to leave.
On several occasions I was taken off orientation to cover shifts that were short handed. Then I was put back on orientation. Each time this happened my license was at risk. I worked with Bobbie Turnipseed in the CCU when they were short handed with more patients than she could attend to. The supervisor was called and made aware of the unsafe situation but nothing was done to resolve the issue. I ended up taking care of patients myself on orientation while she took care of the more critical pts.
During my orientation I was required to cross train in the ED. I received 7 days of orientation in the ED before I was given a full patient load. This ended rather badly. I cared for a patient that may have had an MI. The patient was released without any of the lab work being completed. The next day I was called into Linda’s office to meet with her and the risk manager. They both apologized profusely for not providing the proper training. Directly all the shifts that I was begged to cover were taken away and I went back to orientation. I was told not to talk about this event without the risk manager in the room, so I will leave it at that.
I was called into work because they needed help. I get there to find out I’m working the CCU with Ben who had only been off orientation 1 month and I had only been off for less than a week. We had 5 patients in the CCU. Three of them were level 3 pts. The supervisor again was informed of the unsafe staffing situation…no staffing changes were made. You might say this is what you were trained to do, but look at this comparison. I offered to do some PRN shifts to help out with my exit. I was told that I didn’t have enough experience to work independently. I would need to have a senior nurse working the same shift to be safe and that wasn’t what they were looking for in a PRN person. How was that situation any different?
In addition to unsafe staffing practice, many of the guidelines outlined by the employment agreement were not followed. The union handbook states that nurses will receive a ½ hour lunch per shift and three 15 min. breaks. I was never afforded 15 min. breaks unless I had no patients at that time. There were many occasions I worked through lunch without a reprieve. The handbook also states that final schedules won’t be changed. I had this happen as well.
I don’t think I stated anything in this letter that you can’t look up in a paystub, time card, incident report, orientation daily progress report or work schedule. I would encourage you to do so if you feel I have inaccurately stated the facts.
By requiring me to repay the scholarship, you are saying that this is the standard of practice at St. Alphonsus Ontario and that is what I should have expected from you as an employer. I believe if the job had been presented to me this way, I not only would have turned down the job but I would also have refused the scholarship. After restating my position, hopefully you can see that I was forced to leave in order to protect my license. Since I was forced to leave, I don’t feel that it is my responsibility to repay the scholarship.
Brett Cobler 4/14/13
888 Valiant Ave.
Middleton, Idaho 83644
This invoice involving myself and St. Alphonsus is not a valid debt.
I am in the process of disputing the moneys St. Alphonsus is trying to collect from me. The money they are trying to get me to repay is not for services rendered. It is for a scholarship I accepted for school. The premise behind the scholarship was that they provide money for my schooling and in return I work for them a prescribed amount of time.
I finished school and went to work for them. However, they did not provide a safe work environment. They put me and my nursing license at jeopardy on several occasions not to mention the patients I was caring for. I was therefore forced to leave the hospital prior to my full commitment to protect myself, my license and the patients.
I am providing a letter that I sent to St. Alphonsus in November. I have not heard anything about this until the first call I received from the collection agency a few weeks ago. I thought I had resolved the issue in November. Obviously they are going to push the issue to a third party to resolve the issue, probably a legal entity.
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a dispute letter regarding the scholarship money’s received in return for a safe work environment. The commitment of 42 months of service was based on the employment agreement of a safe working environment. During my employment, I was subjected to multiple incidences that put my license, the patients and the company at risk. I was provided improper training with unqualified personnel. I was assigned preceptors that had less than one year ER nursing experience and less than two years total nursing experience. I was even paired with traveling nurses as preceptors when no other qualified preceptors were available. I was paired with nursing staff with less than one year experience after completing orientation in the CCU. I was also nursing with an intern doctor that switched charts in the ER causing multiple lab tests and other studies not to be performed on a patient which resulted in an incident. I already described the incident that was caused by this lack of proper training and supervision in a previous rebuttal letter. Finally, and one of the most key factors to this injustice, I was taken away from my orientation before it was completed on multiple occasions to cover nursing shortages. I was required to work multiple shifts as a fully trained RN without a preceptor and then put back on orientation the very next shift to continue my training.
I believe lawsuits are going to be the down fall of this country. I have been trying to avoid going that far. I do however believe that when a company isn’t willing to protect their employees with a safe working environment there are other options. There are several governing bodies that insure worker safety including OSHA, JACHO, Bureau of Labor and Industries and of course State Nursing Board. I have spoken with the Oregon State Board of Nursing and The Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries. They believe my actions were appropriate. They would have liked my written complaint at the time of the call. I do not want to do any more work than I have to on this matter. I will be submitting a detailed accounting of the time spent at your facility if the matter is not rectified through this letter. I was trying to avoid all this political red tape by just leaving your facility. Your company is forcing me to address the issue by turning me over to collections for a contract that was broken making it null and void.
In conclusion, I am requesting that you discontinue the collection activity on this unwarranted claim. I will contact the collect agency in 30 days to see if they have received proper instruction from your company to discontinue collection activity. I will also be determining if my credit has been cleaned up due to the misunderstanding. If these two items are not complete, I will be forced to move forward defending my decision by informing the appropriate governing agencies in writing.
I accepted the scholarship monies, finished school, took my boards, got my license, went to work for SAMCO, experienced the unsafe conditions, made the verbal complaints, resigned my position, then started writing letters at the point of SAMCO trying to collect.
I believe I could get written statements (or have them testify) from some of the preceptors involved as well as some of the other nurses who left during this change of management.
I am also writing down the incident I referred to in the letter for you to see. if that is helpful
Here is an accounting of the incident I referred to. I was working the ER after four days of orientation. I was assigned my own pt that shift because the hospital was short handed that shift. I was caring for a patient that came in a lot (regular) with complaints of anxiety and chest pain.
The head doctor for the ER was on that night with an intern. The intern was assigned the patient as well as myself. The intern assessed the patient and asked the head doctor for his opinion. The course of action was to give nitro sublingual and Ativan. I misread the order and gave a Nitro trial, which is 3 doses of nitro 5 min. apart or until pain resolves. I returned to the doctor told him that the pain resolved after the 3 doses of nitro. I questioned him by asking how he knew which medication resolved the issue. He said that he knew the patient and he was regularly in for anxiety and that the ativan did the trick. I later discharged the patient unaware that none of the studies had been done that was ordered. The next day, I was informed that the patient had a heart attack driving to work. I didn’t notice the intern moving the chart around, which is why the ordered studies didn’t get completed.
I was called to the supervisors office the next morning to meet with the risk manager and my supervisor. They apologized profusely for the lack of training I had received an put me back on orientation that day.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).