ALBANY, NY (WENY) – Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced to a plan to increase pay for nurses an average of 4.5% per title. This will bring the starting salary for day shift nurses in upstate New York to nearly $90,000, according to the recent press release.
But some advocates said there are bigger concerns than pay, like workplace violence, staffing ratios, and mandated overtime.
“Nurses get beat up, literally and figuratively beat up by patients, by family members and so the workplace violence is a real issue,” said Jeanine Santelli, PhD, RN, Executive Director of the American Nurses Association NY.
In 2021, the national average of registered nurse turnover increase by 8.4%, according to a recent report from NSI Nursing Solutions Inc. One of the goals of the pay increase initiative by the governor is to improve retention rates and recruitment.
The New York State Public Employee’s federation said they believe that this initiative will achieve just that.
“It is definitely going to make a difference,” said Wayne Spence, President of the New York State Public Employees Federation.
But moving forward, Spence said they would like to see state leaders make progress on limiting mandated overtime.
“When we’re being told to work double shifts and all sorts of overtime and have to a couple of weeks without a day off, that’s when errors can happen because nurses are just flat out exhausted,” Santelli said.
Advocates said, while they do want to see these challenges to the workforce addressed, the initiative is a step in the right direction.