I have been on prozac, 20mg, 9 months now. I have birthed myself a new life.
Unlike the last anti-depressant I tried 2 years ago, I feel that the Prozac is helping me and not causing side effects and mania.
It makes me wonder, why didn’t I try this medication years ago?
Here I am now. And somehow it is all perfect and in perfect order.
It can be challenging to really believe that.
The idea that life unfolds, or we create it, just the way it needs to be.
And it is what we do with what happens that matters more than what happens.
We create our life….
Yet, there are those times when it really feels like life is happening to me
I work PRN as an Occupational Therapy in geriatric rehab.
PRN means no required hours and no guaranteed hours.
I sign up to work but they can “call me off”if they don’t need me something that can happen the night before or the day of…
I am employed with 2 companies, one for almost 8 years and the other for 4 years.
PRN also means you get paid a “higher rate of pay” because you have no benefits.
Healthcare changed in 2000 and greatly for me in the field of Occupational Therapy.
I had a pay cut and salary caps happened and jobs were hard to find for a while.
My work is very different than it was when I graduated college with my Bachelor of Science Degree in OCcupational Therapy in 1992.
All those Medicare cuts and changes that happened at the beginning of this century, mean I now make less money than I did 20 years ago. I worked PRN 21 years ago in addition to a full time job. At that time, my PRN rate of pay was double my rate as a full time employee. IT was $50 an hour. The current average rate of pay in the area where I live for a PRN OCcupational Therapist is now $45 an hour.
I now have 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and yet 21 years later, I am making less money.
PRN means no increase in pay.
This is healthcare.
Or better named, sickcare.
I vent about this all the time to my husband and close friends and family.
It is time I write about it.
I began asking for a pay increase 4 years ago at my job I had been with for 4 years when I found out the current rate of pay for new PRN employees, therapists, was $5 more than I was making. I got told I would get the pay increase and then called back the next day and told, “I didn’t know there was a hold on raises. But you will be the first to get a raise when it changes.”
I asked again almost 2 years later, I was told I had to wait until the fall (it was early spring) when they do reviews.
As a prn employee, I had never had a review done.
First of September, my boss schedules a review for me. Wow!
I get told I will get the “pay increase”, in other words, they will now pay me what they are paying everyone else who was hired after me.
It will be in my December pay check.
December comes, no pay increase.
I was told that the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.
Apparently, they can only do raises one time per year.
I inquired about my options. I won’t even share that here because you would never believe it.
And I know my boss went to bat for me for the raise and then after the raise didn’t happen. I appreciate her efforts.
Much to my surprise, a year later, I get the pay increase!
After nearly 8 years working nearly ever week and most weekends for this company being available for most weekends and also being called off work when the caseload was too low, I now am getting paid what they should have been paying me at least 4 years ago.
$50 per hour
The rate of pay I made 21 years ago, when my hourly rate as a full time employee was $25 per hour.
Sure I am grateful.
I feel like i finally made it happen!
Because PRN employees don’t get raises, pay increases, nothing.
I have been told that by my other employer, where I have now worked 4 years.
Why am I prn?
Because in order to be part time you have to average 20 hours per week.
They don’t have that many hours to give me at either place. I often work 20 hours between both jobs.
Many companies only have full time and prn employees and not part time employees.
So this is all good right?
Now the company is choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.
A secret policy that I have only learned about through the grape vine.
I have been called off work as a prn employee and I get that is part of being prn and the status of healthcare.
But now, I am called off work more and more.
It doesn’t matter how many years I have been with the company, nor my experience, nor the fact that when they do my quarterly relives now, I get glowing remarks on what I great employee I am.
What is the point of the glowing reviews?
It feels like a slap in the face!
I began getting the glowing reviews after I was told my raise wasn’t happening, because the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.
Now, just 3 months after my raise went into effect….
I am finding out not from my boss but from my co-workers, that the company is now choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.
Why am I writing about this and not going to my boss?
I have gone to her multiple times.
I have had many sit down talks with her about my concerns and issues.
I have reached out to her to find out about these rumors I am hearing.
She chooses not to fill me in and not respond to my phone call or repeated questions about the changes.
Each month, I am asked to give my availability for working weekends for the coming month.
I typically let them know I am available most Sundays for a full work day and most Saturdays for at least a half work day. On average, I tell them I am available for 6 our of 8 weekend days, every month, for nearly 8 years.
I find out about how much I am needed for on the Friday afternoon or night before the weekend.
I find out if they are calling me off work on the Friday before and sometimes not until 10pm the night before.
This is the nature of prn work in Occupational Therapy. (PT and OT work in adult and geriatric rehab)
I have been told, that despite my years of experience and time with the company, that if there are no evaluations, I will be called off first rather than the COTAS (OT assistants with a 2 year degree).
It is a financial thing, they tell me.
Something I have never been happy with.
When I am needed for evaluations, they need me. But I am the first to go when the caseload is low.
That in itself sucks.
But what sucks even more
Is the company deciding to use prn employees as little as possible and not sharing this information with the prn employees.
Not openly sharing it.
We all know because we talk to the full time employees
Who are now required to rotate working weekends.
Not because they want to but because they have to.
Sometimes life just sucks.
I have seen that I am being called off more often and despite really liking my fellow co-workers and the facility as a whole at my weekend job, and have been looking for more work hours elsewhere.
My other prn job I work one or two days during the week as well as Saturdays when needed also has a low caseload right now.
And that is a crazy story with its own issues but I will save that for another time.
That being said,
I now have two prn jobs with very little hours for me to work.
And I have been looking for more hours and have let them all know that I am looking for more work hours.
Instead of more hours, I am getting far less hours.
In January, I earned enough to meet and exceed our expenses, to help pay down our debt.
My February pay checks totaled $1000 less, not quite meeting our basic expenses.
So far in March, I have worked a total of 5.25 hours.
It is only March 4, but I have only worked that many hours from Sunday Feb 25 through today, Sunday March 4.
I signed up to work full day last Sunday and today and for 5 hours yesterday and got 0 hours.
The 5.25 hours came from my other prn job.
But I may have 0 hours this week at my other prn job.
The caseload is low and instead of referring patients to our in facility outpatient therapy program, the facility is referring patients to a home health company who is trying to establish a monopoly in the facility, despite our company having a contract with a different home health company.
So I shared a little of that drama…
This is the nature of health care…
I usually work at least 15 hours per week, 20 hours per week meets my expenses.
Sometimes I work 25 or more hours per week and other times 10-15, and it balances out.
But working only 5 hours in 2 weeks won’t pay the bills.
I have been asking about other prn work and have a number of companies to call and…
I updated my resume
Today, I am applying for other jobs. I have had that on my to do list for several weeks.
Now it feels urgent
When I began looking around for other work and asking my fellow prn employees and co-workers who work prn, I was looking to give myself more options and to seek work at a higher rate of pay.
I was looking for a third prn job to have the upper hand.
To be able to tell my weekend employer,
“NO, I have other work and work where I won’t get called off the day of or the night before at 10pm.”
I enjoy the jobI work weekends, I enjoy what I do as an Occupational Therapist, the patients I work with, and my co-workers, and the facility.
But I also value my sanity.
And, heck, the bills need to get paid!
Part of the reason, I have hesitated to find other prn work, more prn jobs…
Is because I am also a writer and actively working
To grow my writing, and turn Child-led learning into a paying gig
My husband, Don, and I are making plans to speak together on conscious parenting.
I run a local homeschool website, Charlottehomeschooling.com
I run Child-led Learning blog and facebook page and my goal is to grow that into a community and to also work as a child-led learning consultant.
I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.
I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.
Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.
I can embrace my new Sundays.
I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…
..so the bills can be paid.
I am ready universe.
I am open to new possibilities.
I am a writer.
I am Gina.
I am creating a new realization, a new experience, for my life
…and for my family.