Nursing Industry Desperate To Find New Hires

Nursing Industry Desperate To Find New Hires

While other industries are shedding jobs, nursing recruiters are frantically trying to hire new workers to address a nationwide nursing shortage expected to worsen as the population ages. (AP Photo/ Dinesh Ramde )

Dinesh Ramde / AP

January 05, 2009

MILWAUKEE – Please, please accept a high-paying job with us. In fact, just swing by for an interview and we’ll give you a chance to win cash and prizes.

Sounds too good to be true, especially in an economy riddled with job cuts in nearly every industry. But applicants for nursing jobs are still so scarce that recruiters have been forced to get increasingly inventive.

One Michigan company literally rolled out a red carpet at a recent hiring event. Residential Home Health, which provides in-home nursing for seniors on Medicare, lavished registered nurses and other health care workers with free champagne and a trivia contest hosted by game-show veteran Chuck Woolery. Prizes included a one-year lease for a 2009 SUV, hotel stays and dinners.

“We’re committed to finding ways to creatively engage with passive job seekers,” said David Curtis, president of the Madison Heights-based company.

Recruiters like Curtis may have little choice. The long-standing U.S. nurse shortage has led to chronic understaffing that can threaten patient care and nurses’ job satisfaction, and the problem is expected to worsen.

The shortage has been operating since World War II on an eight- to 10-year cycle, industry experts say. Each time the number of nurses reaches a critical low, the government adds funding and hospitals upgrade working conditions. But as the deficit eases, those retention efforts fade and eventually the old conditions return, often driving nurses into other professions.

“We recently had a hiring event where, for experienced nurses to interview — just to interview — we gave them $50 gas cards,” said Tom Zinda, the director of recruitment at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in the Milwaukee-area city of Glendale. “We really try to get as creative as we can. It’s a tough position to fill.”

Recruiters across the country have tried similar techniques, offering chair massages, lavish catering and contests for flat-screen TVs, GPS devices and shopping sprees worth as much as $1,000.

Even strong salaries aren’t doing the trick. Registered nurses made an average of $62,480 in 2007, ranging from a mean of $78,550 in California to $49,140 in Iowa, according to government statistics. Including overtime, usually abundantly available, the most experienced nurses can earn more than $100,000.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts about 233,000 additional jobs will open for registered nurses each year through 2016, on top of about 2.5 million existing positions. But only about 200,000 candidates passed the Registered Nurse licensing exam last year, and thousands of nurses leave the profession each year.

Several factors are in play: a lack of qualified instructors to staff training programs, lack of funding for training programs, difficult working conditions and the need for expertise in many key nursing positions.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    The problem with the healthcare industry is how they treat their nurses. They will wine and dine oyu during the interveiw then when you start working for them it is a different story. The work load usually more than ne can handle. Because not only do you have do your job duties the managers deligate their work on you. It is very difficult to find a good paying job with benefits. This article does not pertain to the Lehigh Valley. The healthcare feild needs to treat their nurses with respect and until that happens there will continue to be a shortage.
    And we fellow nurses need to support each other and stick together.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    $78,550 sounds good for a registered nurse in California but when you think about the cost of living there...Is this income enough?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I am looking for a position that will offer me a good productive year of experience and the opportunity to train for a complex specialty. I graduated 12/2006. Have 6 mo acute care, 9 months LTC and now am working in the Family Care Program in WI. Nursing is my second career so I'm beginning to think it is my age. Here in Wisconsin Nurses are treated as if they are a dime a dozen. I'm looking out of State and getting better response.

  • 2063080


    about 6 years ago


    When I see articles like this, I am stunned. I live in the Chicago area. I have 30 years of experience in nursing and a masters degree and have been looking for a nursing job for over a year. I have not been in a clinical position for about 10 years but have always worked in a nursing related position and held an active license.
    Many people have suggested that I take a nurse refresher course to update my skills, which I am not opposed to, except that I work full time and these courses are not geared to someone who is working full time. I can't take 2 days a week off from my job to attend classes and clinical.
    I thought that having experience would be attractive to employers but I guess I was wrong. Perhaps if employers offered an orientation geared to someone who has been out of practice but still has solid nursing knowledge, they would be able to lure some nurses back into the clinical area.

  • Aaaaa_006_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Maybe some of those nursing recruiters should look for more lucrative ways to encourage LPN's to become RN's....offer them incentives for higher education...just my thoughts

  • Mickeymouseclubhouse_240_max50


    about 6 years ago


    It has not come to Tennesse. Bristol is on of the lowest paying areas in the country.

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