Through membership surveys, the Alabama State Nurses Association (ASNA) members report that our healthcare system's staffing challenges are perilously high. Nurse burnout and exhaustion are common. Many have elected to retire. Because Alabama's average RN pay is less than the average pay of our 12 surrounding states, many nurses have chosen to practice elsewhere either as travel nurses or through a multi-state license.
Alabama has one of the lowest CMS Medicare wage indexes in the country, and Alabama has not expanded Medicaid, which could cover the cost of compensated patients. As a result, ASNA believes that when the COVID surge is over, it will be challenging to return to healthy numbers of permanent staff unless Alabama becomes competitive with our surrounding states.