Ohio State Nurses Union Airs Grievances on New Billboard
Nurses at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are taking their pay and work grievances to a billboard alongside state Route 315 near Olentangy River Road in Columbus.
The president of the Ohio State University Nurses Organization, Rick Lucas, said nurses are fed up with large executive bonuses at the Wexner Medical Center. He said some of the money could be better spent on patient care.
“We’re working incredibly short right now,”’ Lucas said. "We've been asking the hospital for months to take meaningful steps to address recruitment and retention and we haven't seen the hospital act on those efforts in a way that is satisfactory for staff."
About 500 nurses have left the hospital since November 2020.Rick Lucas, president of OSUNO
OSUNO bought the billboard starting August 2. It cost more than $1,500. It lists the bonuses of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center CEO Harold L. Paz at $788,000 and retired COO David McQuaid at $284,437.
“Bonus compensation is a bit of a gut punch for health care workers after what we've been through for this last year and a half,” Lucas said.
Nurses received up to a $300 bonus, the same amount given in other years, he said. They could also earn $125 overtime pay for four additional hours worked in a day.
Lucas said about 500 nurses have left the hospital since November 2020. Some have moved to other nursing organizations, but some are seeking new opportunities outside of nursing.
"We're bleeding staff,” says Lucas. “The last year has been very traumatizing, and just like any trauma you have to stop the bleeding to survive, and we need OSU to invest in meaningful recruitment and retention efforts."
"We need OSU to invest in meaningful recruitment and retention efforts."Rick Lucas
In an emailed response, Marti Leitch, director of media relations with the OSU Wexner Medical Center, writes the billboard is inaccurate and that the hospital spent $11.7 million last fiscal year in staff bonuses, pandemic leave pay for staff who had to quarantine or fell ill, and preservation pay for staff who could not work due to the pandemic.
She also writes that a “small number of leaders and faculty have an at-risk component to their total compensation that is only paid if they meet pre-determined metrics.”
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