Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System has seen fewer nurses call in sick since the approval of a 10 percent pay raise in January, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Feb. 26.
The Erlanger Board of Trustees approved the raise for 1,500 hospital-based nurses and more than 300 on-call nurses in January, with the adjustments effective Feb. 5. During a recent board meeting, Rachel Harris, BSN, RN, the system’s senior vice president and chief nurse executive, said the reduction in the number of nurses calling off was an unexpected benefit of the pay raises. She cited Erlanger’s decreased reliance on internal contracts that mandated nurses work four or five shifts per week throughout the pandemic, and the base pay increase as the main reasons why fewer nurses are calling in.
“They would come, and they were tired, and so four or five shifts in, they would call in. They’re exhausted,” Ms. Harris said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “I think it’s giving them a chance to build back their resilience. And I think we’re getting more quality care out of the staff, because you just can’t continuously for [two and a half] to three years work this amount of hours.”
In a statement to the news outlet, Ms. Harris said Erlanger has also seen improvements in nurse retention since it added more focus on well-being.