NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — Vanderbilt announced raises are on the way for their nurses after News4 brought them a complaint from a staff member who said travel nurses are paid exponentially more.
Ask this Vanderbilt nurse, and she'll tell you the front lines are quiet. "We keep referring to it as the calm before the storm," she said, asking to remain anonymous.
As the medical center prepares for the fight ahead, there are fewer patients, many staying home to make room for those sick with COVID-19, and more nurses.
"These nurses that they're bringing in are being brought in at a very, very high pay," the Emergency Department Registered Nurse said, explaining that Vanderbilt is signing on travel nurses for as much as nearly $5,600 a week. She is currently making less than $1,000 a week. Fewer patients means less overtime. "It's honestly a slap in the face."
She said this issue is ongoing, but exacerbated by the pandemic, and that some part-time staff nurses' hours are being cut.
"It feels very disrespectful. It says we aren't willing to pay you guys any more for your time and what you're doing for everyone right now, and we're even willing to send you home if you're a part-time employee, but we're still going to leave our travelers here making much more than you are," she said. "Vanderbilt as a whole I am proud to work for... it has nothing to do with the medical care it's just the administration side of things for the employees is very frustrating."
VUMC sent us the following statement:
We know that our outstanding nurses create remarkable patient experiences every day. As it turns out, in addition to recent recruitment efforts that will help all of our nurses through additional staffing support, Vanderbilt University Medical Center will be announcing pay rate increases for all registered nurses involved in direct patient care and their direct nursing leaders. The new pay rates will go into effect this month. More information will be provided to our nursing staff through their managers.