St. Charles Health System committed to retaining, recruiting health professionals

BEND, Ore. – St. Charles Health System leaders would like patients and community members to be aware that the Oregon Nurses Association plans to hold an informational rally from 3 to 8 p.m. today near the Bend hospital campus at 2500 NE Neff Road. The group has committed to a peaceful gathering on public sidewalks and rights of way that will not obstruct pedestrians or traffic. Patient care, patient and visitor parking and access to the hospital should not be impacted.

“We agree with the ONA about the importance of retaining and recruiting health care professionals and are happy to report that despite a national shortage of nurses we have been making significant progress,” said Julie Ostrom, service line administrator for trauma and surgical services and a member of the St. Charles bargaining team. “Over the past nine months, we have hired more new caregivers than we have lost to turnover in that timeframe and we have reduced the number of open nursing positions at the Bend hospital to 80. In addition, a recent $5 hourly wage increase for all bedside nurses puts St. Charles wages at the second highest in the state (for an average annual full-time salary of $108,000 a year). We respect our nurses for the difficult job they do caring for our patients and community and are proud to offer a competitive pay and benefit package.”

Turnover among Bend nursing staff is also declining, and in 2022 St. Charles Bend reported its lowest turnover rate among nursing staff in the past three years (14.5% turnover in 2022, compared with a national average of 22.5% turnover for RNs, according to NSI Nursing Solutions). St. Charles and Bend nurses represented by the ONA have met to bargain an updated contract 10 times with many more negotiation sessions scheduled throughout May and June. 

“We are very much looking forward to reaching an agreement in these contract negotiations and are working hard toward that goal,” Ostrom said. “In the meantime, our focus remains on providing high quality patient care to our Central Oregon community.”    

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond, La Pine and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,500 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

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