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Advise the Ortho PA how to handle certain job situations vs quit/leave, underpaid?!

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Hi all, although I have had this account for some time now I am very new with forums in general, so please take it easy with me... I have a situation with my current employer and I need to vent, I am sure I can get some good advise here as well. Here is some background about me, I graduated and started working mid 2009. I have experience as a new grad PA with ortho (private practice with surgeries done in hospital and sx center) and some internal medicine before I started my current job. I am currently working as ortho PA for a trauma hospital. I am the only PA of the orthopedic team, there are five residents and 4-5 attendings in the team. I have been working for the hospital now for a year.

When I interviewed for the job I was promised to have fair amount of OR first assist hours, but as soon as I was employed and had left my other job the chairman told me that this is MD/DO residency program he has to keep the residents happy as "the residents are the bread and butter of orthopedics" "They have to learn" etc, so I don't get to scrub in unless the residents are not around. I have to carry the orthopedic pager which is not a quite pager every single day and respond to pages that come in from ED, FT, Trauma Bay, Floors, and 2 nursing homes. In addition to do all regular floor work, seeing and following patients in clinic, ambulatory pre-op, post-op etc.

I officially work for 37.5hrs/wk for $37/hr, although I am not salary based, and supposed to get paid hourly and OT, I have not even had an hour of OT this past year despite my many many Over Time stays to cover residents on most of days, and when I say OT stays, I'm not talking about 10-15 or 20 minutes, there had been days that I stayed 4-5 hours after my working hours had finished and still no OT pay. Despite this and the fact that I work during my one hour break time that is subtracted from my total hours, I have to admit I love my job and the orthopedic field, reducing of fractures, locating the dislocated joints, splinting, castings, pre-op/post-op evaluations, treatment plans, etc, etc, however my issues is that I get to be "forced" a lot by the residents that come and go every 2-3 months, and one attending that is always there to do things that are not necessarily my responsibility or dumped on me, eg. pt transfers (literally pushing the wheelchair or the stretcher), social work issues, all phlebotomy and EKG work that for some weird reason no nurse or tech or phlebotomist would do (since the resident on call at night did not order,...), paper work that no one else wants to do etc. In short I get to do a lot of scot work, and cleaning behind every one else in addition to my regular duties.

I need your advise, is this what a regular ortho PAs does? is this normal? should I quit/leave? ps this is a 1199 union position and I am just afraid if I approach the union, worried about thing becoming very messy. I would appreciate your kind advise.

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stand up for yourself!


you are union - use them to your benefit


residents can be a PIA and having worked in a system that though residents pooped golden nuggets you might be up against a tough sell


if you have things in writing for what you were told it is a lot better


if you have job description it helps


OT is a STATE law depending on where you work - it is FEDERAL law that you have to be paid for hours you worked - if you are working 45 hours, and getting paid for 37.5 and this is a consistent issue you have a very strong case for back pay at lease at straight time - time and a half might be hard to do as this depends on your state

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  • 4 years later...

This is why it's important to get everything in writing. I highly recommend you look at all your paperwork and figure out what was promised and what's expected. I would keep a log of all hours worked from now on because the more you work, the less your hourly wage really is. In my opinion you're being underpaid even if they pay you for all hours worked. Of course this depends on what part of the country you're in, but $37/hour seems low for a PA with a few years of experience in any location.

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