GMH continuing efforts to retain and recruit nurses

Although the differential pay on its own isn't enough to keep all local nurses on-island, the situation isn't completely hopeless. (PNC file photo)

An increase in hospital pay for nurses was approved by the Guam Memorial Hospital board as part of an attempt to retain more local nurses.

But is it enough?

GMH administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Friday morning about the pay increase.

The increase is in differential pay that nurses receive when working at the hospital.

The differential pay was increased from 16% to 20%.

Although Perez-Posadas said that the increase helps, it’s not enough on its own.

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“It’s an effort. It’s an attempt. It’s a strategy to keep them home. But we need to continue looking at the compensation for nurses. And we’re going to begin that project by looking at their job descriptions,” Perez-Posadas said.

Speaker Therese Terlaje introduced a bill that would have increased differential pay up to 22%.

The increase would be funded by the Annual Community Contribution that GRMC is required to pay as a condition of its Qualifying Certificate.

But Perez-Posadas said that GMH wasn’t sure that would be a sustainable reliable funding source.

She said that the current increase will be funded by operational revenues.

Although the differential pay on its own isn’t enough to keep all local nurses on-island, Perez-Posadas said that the situation isn’t completely hopeless.

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“It’s a perennial revolving door, where nurses leave to go and earn more money in the states. At the same time, they’ve taken early retirement because of this situation. But we’ve also recruited. We’ve recruited and gained quite a bit of nurses. The University of Guam, from those who graduated last year, we’ve recruited the majority of them. I think 26 graduated and we recruited 15 or 16 of those new graduates. This, again, helps us with our recruitment,” Perez-Posadas said.

She added that the operational revenues that will fund the differential pay increase are part of the budget that will be submitted to the legislature.