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Creative Benefits to Recruit and Retain Nurses

Creative Benefits to Recruit and Retain Nurses

Linda Childers | Monster Contributing Writer

Despite the nursing shortage, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima, Washington, has no problem attracting a steady steam of job candidates.

“We’ve never offered nurses a sign-on bonus,” says Kathy Franz, the hospital’s director of human resources. “Sign-on bonuses typically keep nurses in their jobs for two years. Our goal is to attract candidates who want to work here for other reasons.”

Among those reasons are a supportive corporate culture, flexible shifts, numerous opportunities for upward mobility and benefits that include a matching 401k, onsite child care and tuition reimbursement.

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.

“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.

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