— Nursing school nursing assistant salaries are set to skyrocket by up to $100,000 a year, with the state nursing board saying it is not enough to cover the cost of maintaining facilities.
Nursing board member Lisa Gorman said she is concerned about the current state of nursing education and the cost to taxpayers of keeping up with demand.
“It’s not an issue that can be easily addressed by an increase in nursing assistant salary,” she said.
“There is a limit on how much we can spend.”
Gorman said the board plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks that would increase nursing assistant compensation by $20 per hour, to $32 per hour.
She said the increase is needed to address the nursing shortage that has caused a dip in the number of new hires to the state’s health department.
“We’re getting older and we need to have younger nurses,” Gorman explained.
“The need is growing,” she added.
“The number of nurses has gone down because of the recession, but we need nurses who can handle a lot more cases.”
NursING BILL: What you need to know about the nursing billGorman’s office has long argued that nursing assistants have no other job than being nurses.
She says the nursing board is making a mistake.
“This is a great opportunity to address a crisis that we’ve had in nursing education for years,” Gummarn said.
Gorman believes that with an increased nursing assistant wage, the state would be able to keep up with the demand for nurses, as well as maintain the facilities that have been closed due to the recession.
Gummarn is the board’s chairman and the vice chair of the state Board of Nursing.