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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras and PEF President Wayne Spence announced Thursday that SUNY System Administration approved an annual pay and benefits increase for the 1,648 Teaching and Research Center Nurses at Upstate Medical University.  Chancellor Malatras, Upstate Medical President Dr. Mantosh Dewan, and PEF President Wayne Spence celebrated the achievements of the nursing team as they announced the raise.

Upstate Medical’s team went above and beyond the call of duty during New York State’s battle again the pandemic, some traveling to those hardest-hit locations in New York City and Long Island for long stretches of time. In April 2020, 46 nurses helped SUNY’s hospital in Stony Brook University as more patients needed care from the disease. As cases increased in the Central New York region later on it was all-hands-on-deck helping patients, testing individuals, and eventually providing the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines as they became available.

“We are grateful to SUNY leadership for their partnership in helping us reward our tireless PEF nurses, who acted so selflessly to care for others during this pandemic,” said Spence. “I especially appreciate SUNY for stepping up and just doing it—we didn’t have to convince them. They did it because it’s right and because nurses deserve it. They are the true heroes of COVID-19 and we simply can’t thank them enough for putting patients first when the need for care was so great.”

“During the pandemic, Upstate demonstrated why SUNY has the most talented health professionals in the world, especially our nurses,” said Chancellor Malatras. “The nurses at Upstate Medical are our heroes every day, and we can’t thank them enough—they are the heartbeat of healthcare. And, while we are pleased to provide this annual pay and benefits increase, we will continue to seek ways to reward their excellence. My thanks to President Dewan and PEF President Spence for their partnership in making that happen.”

The increase in compensation is part of SUNY’s and Upstate Medical’s efforts to increase the retention of nurses, and thereby continue the hospital’s high-level of care. The raise provides between $2,000 and $3,500 additional compensation a year for nurses.

Michael Casey, RN, a PEF-represented nurse in pediatric hematology oncology, thanked PEF and Upstate leadership for the recognition and support especially in such a trying year with the pandemic. “Recognition is nice and helpful, what motivates us most, and the reason we do what we do, is our patients,” he said.