Nurses work to improve conditions

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

To the Editor:

As a registered nurse, I am outraged to hear that the hospital industry may be working to artificially hold down nurse wages while working conditions get worse for nurses and an increasing number of RNs leave the profession for more rewarding fields.

Shortages in other professions have always corrected themselves by employers raising wages until the shortage is over (i.e. pharmacists, engineers, accountants, computer programmers, etc.) but the same hasn’t happened for nurses because hospitals have chosen to avoid a bidding war.

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By keeping nurse pay scales in line with one another instead of raising wages to attract more nurses to the profession, hospitals are putting the bottom line before quality patient care.

I became a registered nurse to diagnose, treat and care for my patients when they need it most. But hospital practices, like short staffing, forced overtime and low pay are making it nearly impossible to provide that care.

Nurses are working together to do something about it.

Through the Nurse Alliance of SEIU’s Value Care Value Nurses Campaign, we’re finding real solutions – in our hospitals, in the Legislature, and in our community to bring nurses back into the profession so that patients are able to access the care they need.

Crystal Hopkins