The nurses at St. Charles Bend have voted to ratify a new 4.5-year contract negotiated by the Oregon Nurses Association and hospital leaders earlier this month.

The new contract includes provisions for variable cost-of-living increases in wages, crediting nurses’ experience in determining salaries, greater nurse input into staffing and practice issues, and a new policy that keeps nurses working in similar departments to better match expertise to patient needs.

“The newly ratified contract helps ensure we are providing the best quality care for our community,” said David Hilderbrand, a registered nurse at St. Charles and chair of the union’s bargaining unit. “We look forward to taking the next step of implementing the new contract and utilizing the new tools provided to address shared concerns like staffing and practice standards, which allows us to focus on our patients.”