Thomas said she joined the internship program to explore working in the intensive care unit and plans to continue working there after graduation. “I think it’s a really great way for Highlands to recruit nurses because once we work there, then we will want to stay,” she said. “I think I’ll stay there for at least two years until I’m really comfortable with my skills — and I may stay there forever.” UK’s Swartz, who was chief nursing officer at Clark Regional Hospital in Winchester, said that while it is often hard to recruit nurses to rural areas, once they hire on, they are often “so committed to that facility and to the people there, it was very much a service orientation to that community.” Swartz said UK HealthCare doesn’t offer signing bonuses or incentives for employee referrals, but does have an aggressive recruiting program that touts their “amazing benefits package.” Appalachian Regional Healthcare, an 11-hospital system that serves Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, is reported to have severe nursing shortages, with around 177 RN job openings listed on its website, as well as many for licensed practical nurses. ARH also offers a $5,000 signing bonus for qualified full-time RNs and a $2,000 incentive to employees for referring an RN http://nursingfacultyjobs101.blogspot.com/2014/01/instructor-rn-full-time-bsn-program.html who is hired. To further meet the “dire need for nurses in Eastern Kentucky,” ARH has formed a partnership with Galen College of Nursing, a private nursing college, at ARH Hazard, which opened for its first class of associate-degree students in March. ARH opted to not answer questions on the subject. Through a strategic partnership, Swartz said UK’s College of Nursing has increased its number of graduates from 80 to 200 over the past five or six years to help the hospital meet its staffing needs. “But honestly right now, we can probably take another doubling of class size,” she said. “The last several years we hired almost 600 nurses every year because of the growth phases that we’ve been in.” Swartz said the hospital has had to become more “intentional and deliberate” in planning for recruitment, strategically timing the openings of floors in its new pavilion with graduation dates. Many nursing-education programs find it hard to expand because they have aging faculty, who must be doctoral-prepared, and non-competitive pay, not to mention limited clinical access for training and student/faculty ratios that are mandated by the state.
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