BURLINGTON – Dr. John Brumsted announced today a “bold new plan” to reduce the number of positions that the University of Vermont Medical Center has been unable to fill due to low wages. Staffing shortages and low wages are at the core of the differences between the medical center and the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals in their negotiations for a new contract. The union maintains that unfilled positions for nurses and nurse practitioners are leading to overworked personnel and unsafe staffing levels at the medical center. Stagnant wages are the reason that UVMMC cannot attract sufficient prospects to fill these positions says union representatives.
Dr. Brumsted admits that many positions have remained unfilled for extended times but asserts that other priorities have his attention. He lists building better, more opulent, and more expensive administration offices as one of the core priorities he is currently tackling. High profile construction projects that don’t increase the number of actual beds available is another cornerstone of his plan. He mentions that maintaining competitive salaries for administration personnel and managers is also a focus of the healthcare system.
“Our new plan meets many of our concerns for staffing, unfilled positions and nursing dissatisfaction. Our first step is to simply eliminate those positions that are not being filled. Problem one, solved!” Explained Dr. Brumstead. “Second, we need to address the concerns about staffing levels. This is a more difficult problem but I think if we just hire more managers to better oversee our current staff we can better convince our patients of our commitment to quality. Of course we will have to insure that mangers salaries are high enough to attract the best people, but I think it is worth it. When patients see how thoroughly we manage our nurses I think they won’t mind waiting for assistance to the restrooms, position changes, and, in some cases, timely medications. All without having to increase wages or continue to have unfilled positions in patient care positions.”
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