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Pay issues causing frustration among Alabama nurses

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:17 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Even though COVID-19 hospitalizations are declining, hospital workers are still overwhelmed, specifically nurses.

They call themselves the backbone of the caretaking process. These are our state’s nurses who make up the largest part of the health care workforce, and right now they feel ignored.

“Nurses, they come into the profession to heal, to nurture and to care for those holistically,” said Dr. Lindsey Harris, president of the Alabama State Nursing Association.

Since the pandemic began, they haven’t been able to focus on patient-centered care. Instead, one of their top concerns is fair compensation.

“Nurses really want and what they really desire is basically to be paid fairly,” said Harris.

To try and address staffing shortages the state hired around 1,000 travel nurses to come to our hospitals.

“There is short-term assistance, it’s about a six-week effort to try to free up more ICU beds, facilitate, trying to return the system as much to normal as we can before we have to address influenza, which then is an issue in November and December,” said Dr. Don Williamson of the Alabama Hospital Association.

Harris said this causes some tension since travel nurses can make up to three times more.

“With their places of employment, just a sense of frustration, in that they feel like, ‘Hey, I’ve been loyal to you throughout the entire time,’ they have not left their organizations or place of employment,” Harris said.

To help with that frustration, the ASNA plans to survey nurses across to state to find additional areas that need to be addressed.

Williamson expects the travel nurses to arrive in the state in the coming days.

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