Hospitals Increase Nurses’ Pay and Raise Rates (1966)

4 Knox Hospitals To Hike Room Rates

Nurses’ Pay To Be Raised

Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 23, 1966 [page not indicated on clipping] All four of Knoxville’s major hospitals will again raise their room rates effective Sept. 1, the third rate increase in less than a year, The News-Sentinel learned today. Hospitals at Maryville, Morristown and Oak Ridge will increase their rates at the same time. Increases will be from $1 to $2 per day per room. The room-rate increase is in a “desperate” effort to ease a “critical” shortage of registered nurses by offering them better salaries, it was reported.

Starting Salary Is $330

Registered nurses, who have had three years of professional training, now start out at Knoxville hospitals on a salary of $330 a month. Starting salaries will be increased to $375. After five years, staff registered nurses now average $375 a month. Their salaries will be increased to $425 a month. Those working on night shifts, 3 to 11 or 11 to 7, are now receiving $415 and that will be increased to $465. Head nurses in Knoxville hospitals now average $415 per month and will be increased to $465. Nursing supervisors make $445 and will be increased to $495.

Others May Get Increases

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) now average $250 per month and will be increased to $300. LPNs who work at night will be increased from $270 to $320. Although hospital staff nurses are getting salary increases, a spokesman for private duty nurses said that group plans no rate increase at this time. Private duty nurses charge patients $20 per eight-hour shift. It was learned that most of the professional and technical employes [sic] of these hospitals will also get a raise.

Pay Hikes Due Oct. 1

Although the room-rate increase is due in a little over a week, the salary increase won’t be effective until Oct. 1. Blaming inadequate salaries, registered nurses have left the hospitals and the medical profession here and across the country. They entered lines of work other than nursing. Knoxville hospitals, in some cases, have had to use private-duty nurses and call in parttime [sic] help to keep the hospitals staffed. But even through the shortage, all hospital officials vow they never had had floors that were inadequately staffed. The salary increase for registered nurses is also in an effort to attract more women to enrol [sic] in area nursing schools. Although there hasn’t been a decrease in the enrolment, there hasn’t been an increase in several years.

Rates Raised Last May

“Our only salvation is in encouraging more women to enrol [sic] in our nursing school,” one administrator said. Last May, the hospitals went up $1 to $2 per day in room rates after they increased salaries of technical employes [sic]. A previous room-rate increase came last December. The present room rate is averaging $19 to $23 per day for semi-private rooms in Knoxville hospitals. They will be increased to $21 to $25. Private rooms now average $25 to $28 and will be raised $1 to $2 per room. Suites will be increased from $32 to $33 per day.

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