Nebraska Unicameral considering $2000+ premium pay for front-line nurses

Nurse comforting patient in hospital

Photo: Getty Images

(Lincoln, NE) -- Nebraska has lost 9.5 percent of its nursing workforce during the pandemic. Now, the State Legislature is considering premium pay to attract and keep front-line nurses.

"The flashbacks of being in a room coding one patient, knowing that next door another patient is dying." Intensive care nurse Lacie Ferguson told the Nebraska Appropriations Committee Tuesday.

"We did what we had to do for our patients, and our community, and we will continue to do so." Ferguson said tearfully.

The bill would use federal money to give nurses who directly care for Covid patients from $2000 to as much as $5,000 dollars in premium pay.

"I don't think it's enough." Nebraska State Senator Mike McDonnell of South Omaha told the Committee members and nurses who were there to share their stories.

"I don't know if there is enough for what they've done, what they've sacrificed, what they continue to do." McDonnell said.

"But, for us to say we appreciate what you're doing, respect what you're doing, we're asking you to please continue, it's a minimal amount of money but it's recognizing the sacrifices you've made." He said.

McDonnell is the author of the bill, LB 1055. Legislative Bill 1055 is the Front-Line Nurse Premium Pay bill which will appropriate $50-Million dollars from federal ARPA funds and allow hospitals and federally-qualified health centers to award premium pay bonuses to front-line nurses.

Appropriations Chair, Nebraska State Senator John Stinner's office tells KFAB Radio News the date for a committee vote on the bill is not yet scheduled.

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