Pay increase for nurses at Campbell County Public Health to help with staffing shortages
Nurses at Campbell County Public Health have seen a boost to their pay after the county commission unanimously voted to allocate additional funds for the department earlier this month.
Commissioner Rusty Bell said that boosting pay for both junior and senior staff was deemed a necessity to keep qualified nursing staff from going elsewhere. The public health department used to offer more competitive salaries and benefits; however, changes in budgets and a less competitive pay environment have taken their toll.
"Over the last three years, Campbell County has had to cut a lot of budgets—we’ve had to cut a lot of operational budgets countywide, so we've had some cost-share from employees for their medical benefits and their family," he said. "What's happened is that now we're mid-range or lower for that starting pay and our benefits aren't better than anybody else's, so what happens is you fall off over the last three years just because you've been cutting budgets for three-plus years."
The pay increases, which took effect Nov. 29, include two to three dollar pay increases. Starting nurses have had their pay increased from $24.83 to $27.31 per hour while senior nurse pay is set to rise from $27.31 to $30.01 per hour.
This means that the yearly pay for a starting nurse would start at $56,804 while senior nurses would begin at $62,480, an increase of approximately $8,000 from the pre-raise levels. Pay will top out at $85,200 and $93,720 respectively.
Public Health is currently looking to add several nurses to its staff. Ideally, there would be approximately 11 nurses to staff the department, though there are several fewer than that for the time being.
Bell said boosts in pay were necessary due to the higher salaries and better benefits offered in other public sector health care jobs. The school district and hospital have been two of the biggest competitors that the public health department has had to contend with in staffing nurses. Nurses leaving for employment with private health care practices have also been noted.