SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY: Losing Nurses to Higher-Paying Hospitals
Hospitals in the northern San Joaquin Valley are seeing the state's nursing shortage intensify as experienced nurses in the region are lured "over the hill" and "downhill" to other hospitals. Sign-on bonuses of up to $5,000 and wages $10 to $12 per hour higher are luring nurses away from valley facilities to Bay Area facilities, such as Alta Bates in Berkeley and John Muir in Walnut Creek. And nurses from facilities in the foothills, such as Tuolumne General and Sonora Community, can make about $8 a hour more by commuting to Memorial or Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. "It's clearly a money issue," said Memorial's Kathy Neal. Tuolumne General Administrator Darlene Hieb said, "We have a fair number of nurses who work down the hill in Modesto. A lot of them are wooed by the sign-on bonuses I wish we could give them. We'd be more competitive." The Modesto Bee reports that recruiting nurses is made even more competitive by the statewide shortage of specialized nurses (Jardine, 3/29).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.