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Cooper University Hospital And Cooper Nurses Reach Agreement: Contract Terms Position Cooper As "Employer Of Choice" For Nurses In South Jersey

10/19/2005 5:10:39 PM

CAMDEN, N.J., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Cooper University Hospital and the union representing its nurses have reached an agreement on a new two-year contract that positions Cooper as the employer of choice among the nursing profession in the South Jersey region. The prior contract between the union of 650 RNs and Cooper University Hospital expires on March 31, 2004. Both the union and the hospital management agreed that the new contract puts Cooper in a unique position to continue to recruit and retain the best nurses, and preserve Cooper's leadership as the region's most sophisticated quality health care provider. Cooper Nurses will meet Thursday to vote on ratification of the agreement.

Among the issues addressed in the new contract agreement: -- The contract formalizes the staffing standard that has been the policy at Cooper University Hospital for its medical-surgical units, with additional provisions for flexibility to respond to changes in patient volume and staffing conditions. -- The contract also recognizes the role of the Staffing Committee, a model of collaboration among nurses and nurse administrators. Nurses and administrators will meet to discuss staffing levels, how to respond to changes in patient acuity, how to enhance patient satisfaction, and improve nurse recruitment and retention. -- The economic package includes a 10% salary increase over two years, an increase in the number of "steps"-salary increases attached to years in service at Cooper, and enhanced retirement benefits.

"We believe that Cooper nurses represent the elite of nurses in South Jersey and the Delaware Valley," stated Gary Young, Executive Vice President for Communications. "As South Jersey's leading university hospital and Level One Trauma center, Cooper nurses care for the most acutely ill and seriously injured patients in the region. At Cooper University Hospital, we have tremendous respect for our nurses. This agreement demonstrates that we don't just talk the talk," stated Young.

"Proper staffing - meeting the needs of our patients every shift of every day - is essential to a positive patient experience and high-quality standard of care. The quality care provided by Cooper nurses is part of what makes Cooper University Hospital so special. It is why people come to Cooper when they need serious care," according to Young.

"At Cooper University Hospital, we work and succeed at recruiting and retaining the best nurses by providing a very positive and stimulating environment for nurses. Nurses collaborate with physicians to provide the best of medicine, and there are many opportunities for education and enhancing nursing skills," explained Shirley Green, RN, Vice President for Patient Care Services at Cooper and a member of the negotiation team. "This agreement provides evidence to nurses throughout the region that Cooper nurses are at the forefront of our profession."

Cooper University Hospital

CONTACT: Peggy Leone, Cooper University Hospital, +1-856-342-3332

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