Local hospitals’ failure to pay competitive nursing wages could be eroding quality of care

A Baptist Health nurse was recently criminally charged in the death of a patient after administering an unauthorized lorazepam injection on a 97 year-old patient. This was obviously a rare and isolated incident, but anecdotal evidence does point to a decline in the quality of care being provided at Baptist and other area hospitals.

“If you had asked me ten years ago if Baptist would have ever had travelers, I would have told you that you were crazy, because Baptist always has been a magnet hospital with really high standards,” a former Baptist Health nurse told The Lexington Times today.

Multiple medical professionals connected to area facilities say that local institutions’ failure to pay competitive wages is driving more and more regular staff to travel nursing, and that can erode the quality and continuity of care provided.

Any time a hospital has a bunch of travelers, the quality automatically goes down, because you get those travelers that have no sense of obligation to the facility they work for and kind of just do whatever they want. There are good travelers too, don’t get me wrong, but anyone that has worked at Baptist a long time will tell you that it’s not the same hospital it used to be. And anyone that has left Baptist to travel will tell you they loved working there, but left because they wanted to make more money. Why stay, and do the same work for less money when you could travel and make your month’s salary in one week?

Former Baptist Health nurse

Our Take

This is certainly not the first time this issue has been brought up, and with this latest incident it is more pressing than ever. Baptist and other area hospitals should take a page out of the LFUCG playbook and give retention bonuses to all their frontline staff.