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Huntsville Hospital nurses say they don’t get paid near enough for what they do

“It’s too much and you’re not getting any compensation for it, you’re not making enough money to do it and these nurses are getting worn out.”
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 8:45 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Hospitals are filling up across the country, and it’s taking a toll on nurses. Frontline workers in the Tennessee Valley say they are not paid enough for the work they do every day.

Four Huntsville Hospital nurses wanted to share their story, but also wanted to keep their identities private. They all say they are overworked, overwhelmed and under compensated.

“When people think you’re a nurse, they think that you’re making a lot of money and it’s just completely not the case,” said one nurse.

Another nurse described Huntsville Hospital’s pay as “pitiful.”

“We are dealing with putting our lives on the line as well as our families because we’re in the face of COVID. It’s dangerous and they don’t compensate that in any way shape or form,” said a COVID nurse.

One nurse says it has gotten to the point where it’s unsafe, and the nurse to patient ratio is “ridiculous.”

“It’s too much and you’re not getting any compensation for it, you’re not making enough money to do it and these nurses are getting worn out,” said a nurse.

They say sometimes, critical patients may not get the care they need because there aren’t enough nurses to care for all the patients. Some of these nurses worked at other hospitals before accepting positions at Huntsville Hospital, and some of those jobs were in the state. They said they make less now. They also say there’s no hazard pay for them, but it’s not just about the money.

“We spend all of our days taking care of other families, that we put our own selves our own families on the backburner,” said a COVID nurse.

Nurses say it has taken a toll on their mental health as well.

“It’s a vicious cycle because you don’t want to leave them, you don’t want to leave people that you’re caring for behind, especially as you get attached,” said a COVID nurse.

Huntsville Hospital CEO Jeff Samz says they have had people resign because of the emotional toll. He says he doesn’t think anyone will ever agree on whether the pay is enough.

“We have chosen to use incentive pay, an additional pay for people who are willing to work extra and respond to the crisis, and we have offered that to all of our staff,” said Samz.

The nurses say, they are just drained. They say nurses will continue to quit because of being burnt out.

“If I was in administration I would be afraid of nurses going on strike especially with a severe nursing shortage because nurses are going to continue to leave,” said a nurse.

Samz says they did give staff a raise about six months ago. One of the nurses said that even with the pay increase, it’s still not enough to take care of her family. There are around 500 nursing openings at Huntsville Hospital.

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