Tentative agreement calls for wage increases for county nurses 

Registered nurses in the San Mateo County Health System announced Monday that they have reached a tentative contract agreement with the county that would provide a 16.5 percent wage increase for RNs and 18.5 percent raise for nurse practitioners over three years.

Unionized nurses said the proposed deal will lead to improved patient care and strengthen the Health System, as it calls for wage increases that will help retain experienced nurses, added workplace-violence protections, and an expanded committee of RNs tasked with addressing patient care concerns.

The California Nurses Association-National Nurses United represents 352 registered nurses who work throughout the county's health care system, including at San Mateo Medical Center, county clinics, the Health System and the Sheriff's Department. Nurses must still approve the settlement, and union members are scheduled to meet today to vote.

"Nurses secured a contract that ensures we will be able to deliver the best possible care. The nurse negotiators would not give up on our patients," said Nicole van Stijgeren, an emergency department RN at San Mateo Medical Center.

Van Stijgeren said the wage increase was a primary concern to help retain experienced nurses, because the salaries for RNs across the county, on average, have lagged behind other counties by 7.5 percent. In addition to the proposed increases over three years, the contract calls for a 1 percent bonus in the third year.

"I've heard so many tough stories in the past year, nurses getting tears in their eyes because we could not retain staff and take care of our patients properly," van Stijgeren said. "This is going to improve morale and keep RNs from leaving. That's good for patients."

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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