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Make Nurses Happy, Some Hospitals Say

Make Nurses Happy, Some Hospitals Say

Kaiser Permanente offers nurses (and other employees) concierge services to help with dinner reservations, car repairs, mailing packages and dry cleaning pickup, among other services.

Linda Childers | Monster Contributing Writer

Beyond Signing Bonuses

Realizing that sign-on bonuses don’t always keep nurses in the acute-care setting, many hospitals, including Yakima, are offering creative perks to recruit new nurses and retain their existing staff. These perks include flexible scheduling, professional development, and programs designed to empower nurses and improve the hospital’s corporate culture.

“We also offer all of the nurses the same pay structure,” Franz says. “They receive the same compensation whether they are working in home health, the hospital or the clinics.”

In 2006, Yakima began offering “Into the Blue,” a four-day program, to all employees. Designed by the Pacific Institute, a training and consulting company, the program aims to maximize the spirit of leadership in every individual.

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“The program essentially teaches employees how to better understand one another’s personalities and temperaments and how to foster healthy relationships,” says Jennifer Tate, Yakima’s director of organizational health and wellness. “It shows how to remove self-imposed limits to achieve your goals.”

Tate says more than 1,800 employees have gone through the program and have reported tremendous success.

“I’ve heard story after story of how this program has changed our employees’ lives both personally and professionally,” Tate says. “There was one woman who always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, and this course motivated her to do so at the age of 60. Another man closed the mortgage on his home after finishing the program.”

The course complements Yakima’s already strong corporate culture, Tate says.

“Our CEO sends all of our 2,000 employees a card on their birthday,” she says. “On Christmas, he and the VP of nursing hand out flowers to all the nurses working that day.”

While lucrative sign-on bonuses can initially attract nurses, Tate believes that a positive working environment is more important when it comes to retaining staff.

“We all spend a lot of time at work,” she says. “It’s important to be someplace where you feel appreciated and are able to make a difference.”

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