La demande de services hospitaliers devrait inciter à une analyse des conditions de travail de celles dont la participation est absolument nécessaire si l'on veut que les services exigés soient rendus. Ce qui suit réfère à certains aspects de la rémunération des infirmières du diocèse de Québec mis en relation avec l'évolution des variables habituellement utilisées dans la détermination des taux de rémunération. L'analyse est incomplète et ne prétend être qu'un point de départ.
Structure and Evolution of Nurses' Salaries in the Diocese of Quebec — 1944-1952
The study of the structure and evolution of salaries of nurses is one of interest at a time when the demand for their services put some stress on the supply side.
The present analysis is partial and incomplete. It only deals with the salaries of nurses working at hospitals within the boundaries of the diocese of Quebec. Nevertheless, it shows the way the salaries schedules of nurses have moved in relation with indexes such as those of the prices of consumers goods, the general productivity, the income per employee and the rate of wages in the manufacturing industry.
Due to lack of official information, the analysis starts with the year 1944.
It is generally agreed that rates should increase according to the price of consumers goods in order to enable people to maintain their standard of living. Table 2 shows that the remuneration of nurses between 1944 and 1962 has increased much more than the price of consumers goods.
It also shows that in many instances increases in the rate of pay have followed with certain delays the increase in the price of consumers goods. Such is the case between 1948 and 1952. On the whole it remains that the rates have increased more than the price of consumers goods, allowing some place for a better standard of life.
That better standard of life reflects to a certain extent the increased productivity. When one takes into account both the increase in the price of consumers goods and the increase in the productivity the figures show that, from the beginning of the period to the end of it, rates have moved up more than such a composed index. But, here again, table 2 shows that delays in the rate of increases are such that when one considers every year under study (and not only the beginning and ending years) increases have not been sufficient to improve money rate of income according to changes in both productivity and price of consumption in goods for the whole period.
Such delay simply that increases in pay should be larger that increases in both consumer price and productivity indexes if the aim is to increase income so as to improve standard of living along with improvements in productivity. It also implies that one cannot say that such an objective has been attained simply by looking at figures that appear at the beginning and at the end of the period under consideration. One has to know what happened continuously in between.
The analysis also shows that the yearly increase in the rate of pay of nurses has always been lower than such increases in the rates of hourly paid worker or in the income per employee in the Province of Quebec but for one year (1948) over the whole sixteen year period. It is only very recently that the situation has been properly corrected, after a continuous sixteen year period of relatively deteriorating income status.
Table 4 shows that the attraction into the profession of nursing — for those who want to make a career out of it — is less than that of the teaching profession. That is due to the fact that seniority is better rewarded in the latter than in the former.