Los Angeles County Nurses Fault Low Pay for Nursing Shortage in Area
Los Angeles County nurses on Wednesday said inaction on a new pay scale that could help attract new nurses to the area is contributing to a nursing shortage in the county, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Last year, the county hired 500 new nurses, but 520 left county employment.
County officials agreed earlier this year to expand the current five-step salary scale, which gives a 5.5% raise to nurses annually, to a 20-step schedule, which would provide an annual 2% raise. Eighty-five percent of public nurses are at the top step of the current system. Nurses say that salaries to attract more nurses, need to be comparable to those in the private sector -- which average $73,000 per year, compared with $58,000 per year in the public sector.
Negotiations on the plan have stalled in part because the county wants to reduce the number nurse specialties from 41 to three, while nurses say they want to work with specific populations of patients.
In addition, some nurses say several county hospitals are in violation of new nurse staffing laws (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/21).