Ventura County Outpatient Mental Health Nurses Ask Supervisors for Bonus Received by Most County Nurses
A group of nurses employed in outpatient mental health clinics operated by Ventura County yesterday asked the county Board of Supervisors to provide them with the same bonuses that most other county-employed nurses receive, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 1998, the county began to offer a "special assignment" bonus of an additional $1.88 per hour to some nurses employed at Ventura County Medical Center to help fill vacant nursing positions at the facility. Since 1998, the county has extended the bonuses to nurses in the psychiatric ward at the medical center and to those employed at county public health and ambulatory clinics, Barbara Journet, human resources director for the hospital, said. Journet said that the county "does not want to extend the bonus to nurses in outpatient mental health clinics because those jobs are easier to fill" than hospital positions. "We were having a major nursing shortage and that was a way to get nurses to come into the hospital," Journet added. She said that "acute care is exhausting," and without the bonus, many hospital nurses would request transfers to other facilities. However, according to the nurses who asked for the bonus yesterday, "if the pay differential is good enough for some, it is good enough for all," the Times reports. Norrita May, a spokesperson for the California Nurses Association, said that salary parity represents one of "several contentious issues" in contract negotiations with the county. May said that Ventura County pays mental health nurses 17% less than nurses in other counties (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 9/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.