East Norriton, AL (NursingSalary.org) – The Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton, Alabama has recently laid off twelve licensed practical nurses. The employees were notified on the 1st and 2nd of November during a series of private meetings and left the job within a week.
Despite the current shortage in skilled nurses, there is an emerging trend of drifting towards four year Bachelor’s degree nurses. LPN’s and, in general, nurses with less formal education are less favored and are slowly but steadily forced out of the workforce. The health reform in the US has put an emphasis on compelling health facilities to cut costs and, therefore, only keep the best trained personnel.
Licensed Practical Nurse Galen Hall worked with Mercy Suburban Hospital for six years. He started off in a “step-down” unit meant to assist critically ill patients onto surgical units and later on was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He holds a one year degree and was notified of the layoff on Tuesday, November 2nd and left the job on Saturday the same week. He mentioned in the interview for Montgomery News that the hospital hired two newly graduated registered nurses and assigned them immediately to ICU tasks.
As an LPN with six years of experience, Hall was earning close to $60,000 per year. He believes the layoff might have had budgeting grounds, as the nurses with four year degrees who just got hired earn a substantially lower wage.
Mercy Health System marketing manager Sandra Lory said the hospital is to hire seven more registered nurses to replace the twelve LPN positions. Other registered nurses at Mercy Suburban agree with the initiative, but feel that the layoff was much too abrupt and the increase in short term workload is quite a daunting task for the remaining employees.
Galen Hall feels that his only chance at getting another job as a nurse is to go back to school and get a four year degree. Unfortunately, it is too late for him to enroll in a nursing program this year, as admissions are long closed by now, so he plans on signing up with a nursing school in the fall of 2011.
The twelve LPN’s were laid off without extension of benefits or severance pay. They only cashed in the nursing salaries due for the fraction of the month.