Nursing shortages lead to high paying temporary jobs within hospitals

(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 10:52 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Frustrations continue to rise as COVID cases surge, and nurses are hard to come by.

Hospitals continue to raise wages for temporary jobs, but it isn’t sitting well with some employees.

Low staff, long hours, and low pay, that’s the current situation for nurses across the state according to the President of the Alabama State Nurses Association, Lindsey Harris.

“Hospitals have so many patients…. They are inundated with patients and not enough staff. So right now hospitals are doing whatever they can to fill those positions,” said Harris.

But, the newest nursing recruiting tactic isn’t sitting well with all nurses.

“A shortened assignment at a very high wage,” said Harris.

Hospitals are posting temporary jobs for higher wages like 115 dollars an hour. Temporary employees could be making more than long time employees. On average, nurses in Alabama make $28.96 an hour.

“Within the state of Alabama Registered Nurses are paid eight percent lower than surrounding states. So we already know that is an issue and we are essentially behind in pay,” said Harris.

Nurses say they understand hospitals need more staff to take care of patients. But they want leaders at hospitals to take care of them.

Harris says more needs to be done to retain the nurses who have stuck it out the past two years before the pandemic started.

“Those nurses that have been in the trenches for the duration of COVID. Those that have remained at their places of employment, just some type of retention.

ASNA is asking the legislature to allocate funding for retainment and recruitment of nursing.

“There are some things in progress. I know the hospital association has a bill. The one thing that we are asking the hospital association, as well as the nursing home association, is that a portion of the funds they receive go directly to the nurses that are in the hospitals and have remained in the hospitals for the two years,” said Harris.

Harris says you can actually help. If you wear your mask, stay socially distant, and wash your hands, there are better chances you won’t get sick and end up in overcrowded hospitals.

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