Nurses at HCA are being trapped in exhausting working conditions to avoid a debt of up to $10k for HCA’s required new nurse training programs.
Nurses are routinely forced to work at an HCA facility for two years after completing training, or face repayment of hefty training costs, even when burnt out from the stress of caring for patients in extremely short-staffed HCA hospitals.
After only 13 months, former HCA nurse Jacqui Rum left her job at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in southern California due to the harmful impact short-staffing had on her physical and mental health. Now HCA is demanding $2,000 for training costs and potential legal and collections fees.
“We’re being preyed on by someone in power. We’re desperate for a job, we just got out of school, we don’t know any better,” said Rum, “I didn’t even have time to take a lunch break, my hair was falling out, the level of stress just wasn’t sustainable.”
Many nurses at HCA hospitals are afraid to leave or speak out about unsafe working conditions for fear of being fired and facing thousands of dollars in debt.
According to Jonathan Harris, a professor at Loyola Law School, repayment TRAPs (training repayment agreement provisions) like HCA’s StaRN program function mainly “to keep workers from leaving their job through debt.”