Loma Linda Veterans Hospital Woos Nurses With ‘Generous’ Benefits
Using "generous benefit packages, a stable work environment and slightly higher salaries than those offered at some private hospitals," the Loma Linda-based Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center has managed to fill all of its nurse positions and "even has hired extra nurses for some busy departments" at a time when hospitals nationwide are facing a nursing shortage, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. According to Evelyn Bezjak, the medical center's nurse recruiter, the benefits package at the hospital -- which includes five weeks of vacation and $10,000 scholarships for nurses who wish to continue their education -- "pretty much sells itself." For instance, Pettis nurses receive about twice as much vacation time as nurses at nearby Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside, but starting salaries are comparable. As a result, 95% of the 56 full-time registered nurses hired by Pettis since October were previously employed at other Inland hospitals, according to Bezjak. "I'm not ashamed to tell you I'm stealing them," she said. The Press-Enterprise reports that in addition to dealing with the nursing shortage, private hospitals are increasingly facing the prospect of "[l]osing staff to government-run hospitals." Mary Ann Bush, Parkview's chief nursing officer, said, "We're always looking at our benefits (but) we don't have the government's money to back us up" (Paul, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.