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Oklahoma veteran care nurses receiving significant pay raise

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 18:27:50-04

CLAREMORE, Okla. — Nurses who care for Oklahoma veterans are about to get the largest pay increase in history. Some of them will see as a much as a 20 percent increase in salary by the end of August.

Administrators at the Claremore Veterans Center said consistency is key for proper patient care. Claremore VA nurses said the pay raise will bring the consistency they need.

“That means more consistency for our residents," said Assistant Director of Nursing James Baltutis. "Our veterans need to have consistency, they need to have relationships of trust with whom they get to work with. It’s hard to trust somebody that you meet one week and then you don’t see them again."

The pay raises range from 10 to 23 percent and provide licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants a nearly $13,000 yearly raise. Baltutis said when everyone got the news of the pay raise, a sense of relief came over the staff, and others started calling to ask about working there.

“We’re gonna benefit greatly from this," he said. "I’ve already had an agency nurse just this morning say 'How do I switch over and work for the state? I love your facility, I don’t want to wait until all your positions are filled up now that they’re making more money. I want to switch now.'”

Baltutis said he’s grateful for the raise.

“I have four kids and one on the way," he said. "A kid due in October and it does affect me. I think peace of mind is the word I would give you. With our economy the way it is, food prices are high, utilities are high, it’s hard to plan for next month."

ODVA said they worked with state lawmakers and the ARPA grant process to make the raises possible.

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