State Hospitals Offer Bonuses to Recruit and Educate Nurses
California hospitals have begun to offer a number of bonuses to help recruit and educate nurses, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some facilities offer nurses signing bonuses of up to $15,000, tuition for bachelor's and master's degrees, 401(k) retirement plans and reimbursement for moving expenses. Although public hospitals do not have the same "perks" as private facilities, some offer 401(k) plans, scholarships and specialty training (Perera, Los Angeles Times, 2/17). U.S. hospitals today face a shortage of about 126,000 nurses, a figure that experts predict will increase to more than 400,000 by 2020 (California Healthline, 2/8). Jan Emerson, a spokesperson for the California Healthcare Association, said, "The competitive environment for hospitals hiring nurses is unbelievable." However, the recruitment campaigns "sometimes cause resentment among nurses already on a staff," Janice Beuhler, president of the Southern California Association of Healthcare Recruiters, said. "It also annoys nurses when new hires come in," benefit from bonuses and leave for hospitals that offer "yet another bonus and a larger salary," the Times reports. In addition to employment bonuses, some hospital administrators and health plans donate funds for faculty salaries at nursing schools to help increase participation in classes and boost the applicant pool in the nursing profession. For example, Kaiser Permanente, California's largest health plan, last year donated about $500,000 to nursing schools in California. Carol Bradley, the founder of Careforce Consulting Group, which helps match hospitals with nursing schools, said, "The hospitals right now are so desperate from a workforce standpoint to educate nurses, they'll do anything to try to (help) their local schools" (Los Angeles Times, 2/17).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.