Some providers are worried that a new compensation system could worsen the country’s nursing shortage.
The pandemic has put things into perspective for nurses all over the country.
According to SSM nurse Bridget O’Hearne, “It’s really hard seeing young people even that have gone through this. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”
She says COVID-19 and the ongoing nurse shortage has many health care workers working long hours.
“There hasn’t been one week that there hasn’t been something put out on Facebook, or calls put out, that we need help,” O’Hearne said. “They’re offering bonuses, they’re offering everything that they can, but at some point, we’re all getting burnt out.”
So, when SSM changed its pay calculation system, O’Hearne said she felt it immediately in her pocketbook.
“All of us are losing money through overtime or we’re losing it through not getting the pay during that week,” said O’Hearne.
The minor change pushed the end of the pay period back by seven hours, putting it in the middle of the overnight shift.
“This doesn’t really affect day shift,” said O’Hearne. “It doesn’t affect our office workers. It just affects nightshift.”
In response, an SSM spokesperson issued the following statement:
“SSM Health deeply values all our caregivers and is committed to providing strong, competitive salary and benefits. This includes annual increases, market adjustments and hero bonuses that recognize our team members’ hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as robust programs and resources to support their overall health and wellbeing. As part of our continuous improvement efforts, we recently made some changes to further standardize our pay practices and ensure a consistent employee experience across our health ministry. Even with the change, employees continue to be paid appropriately for all hours worked including hours paid at the overtime rate.”
“By doing this you’re pushing people out the door,” said O’Hearne. “It’s sad, quite honestly.”
O’Hearne stated that she has already had coworkers walk out due to this issue, and that she will continue to press the issue until management makes a change.
“I want to say to the administration at SSM that you’re losing employees,” said O’Hearne. “You’re losing the people that are the core of your hospital, and the care of the patients, and it’s going to affect patient care.”