Union: hospital to offer nurses incentives for extra shifts

Union: hospital to offer nurses incentives for extra shifts
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:40 PM EDT
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - Incentives will now be offered to nurses to pick up extra shifts at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

It comes after a nursing shortage came to a head last week, when one nurse showed up to work, didn’t think there were enough nurses, and quit, saying patient care and her license could be at risk.

The New York State Nurses Association says it met with St. Lawrence Health management Tuesday, and management proposed extra pay for a nurse to pick up extra shifts on the medical and surgical floors. The union wants the incentive for nurses in any department, if there’s a need.

The nurses union says it agrees with this short-term fix but it’s not a solution and it wants a long-term answer because, the union says, when the incentive pay runs out, things will go back to what they were.

St. Lawrence Health has said recently that patient care is a priority.

The following is the full statement from Susan Creighton Quinell, the president of NYSNA at Canton-Potsdam Hospital:

“We demanded a meeting with the hospital and we were ready to talk about solutions. When we met with management on Tuesday, they proposed incentive pay to get more nurses on the medical/surgical floors to pick up shifts, thus immediately increasing staff in those units. While we agree with this short-term intervention to address the immediate needs of our patients, this is not the solution. Nurses are pushing for a holistic, long-term approach that will improve staffing in every unit and tackle the critical issue of nurse retention. That is the only way we can solve the staffing crisis at Canton-Potsdam in the long term. Short-term incentives have been offered previously and when they ended, we went back to where we started. Nurses are tired of band-aid solutions and we will continue to push for comprehensive proposals that will heal this crisis so we can provide our patients with the quality care they deserve.”

St. Lawrence Health was not immediately available for comment.