Tuition payments. Signing bonuses.
With nursing shortages being reported in spots around the country, the two hospitals in Pueblo, Colo., are getting creative as they try to fill vacancies.
Vicki St. Clair, director of human resource development at 259-bed Parkview Episcopal Medical Center, said to keep up with attrition and competition along Colorado's Front Range, "the best luck we have had is in kind of growing our own (nurses)."
Parkview works closely with the nursing programs at the University of Southern Colorado and Pueblo Community College. The hospital hires students as nurse's aides and pays 75% of their tuition until graduation.
"By the time they graduate, if we've supported them that far and they've stayed with us, chances are great they're going to be successful at getting a job," St. Clair said.
She said most of the hospital's other recruiting and advertising efforts are focused along the Front Range.
As of April 8, St. Clair said six new nurses had been hired in the past two weeks and nine vacancies remained.
Rob Kaminski, one of two recruiters in St. Mary-Corwin Regional Medical Center's personnel division, focuses solely on finding nurses.
In recent weeks, the 261-bed hospital was seeking 20 registered nurses, four licensed practical nurses and 10 certified nurse's aides, among 70 openings, Kaminski said.
He said that during his 15 years of medical recruiting, "this is one of the worst times I can remember. Sometimes it's a cyclical thing, but this cycle seems to be a little deeper. I see it, and so do many veterans in the business that I talk to every day."
Kaminski said he recruits from other hospitals in Centura Health, the Denver-based system that owns St. Mary-Corwin Regional Medical Center.
"And we put a lot of our efforts into establishing relationships with both (USC and PCC)," he said. "We've found there's a tendency for local students to stay in the local market if they can."
The hospital's job openings soon will be posted on its Internet home page and updated weekly for nurses worldwide to see. St. Mary-Corwin offers a $2,000 sign-on bonus to sweeten the package, in case the prospect of living in Colorado isn't enough to lure job candidates.
Both Pueblo hospitals hire agency or "traveling" nurses to fill vacancies temporarily until permanent replacements are found.