How has the health care worker shortage affected your facility, and what steps are you taking to alleviate the problem?

District Voices

Published March 1, 2001  | March 2001 issue

Our staffing shortage is in radiology. The nursing area is fine. We've had occasional shortages and have filled them within two to three months. We've been more creative in the marketing for current positions, but that hasn't seemed to help. We're participating in a grant for distance learning, a brew-your-own type of thing where you pay current staff members to become certified in other areas.

Brian Breitling, Administrator
Bowdle Home Health—Bowdle, S.D.

The biggest problem is trying to fill in when someone is sick. We end up begging someone to work overtime or call a nurse or a supervisor to fill in. Last month we were short staffed, but I'm fairly happy with how it is now. We've beefed up our wages significantly. Now we're intent on keeping the staff we have by offering incentive programs. I feel like it's going to get worse before it gets better. It's not just a matter of finding people, but qualified people.

Lary Garrison, Manager
Grand Park Assisted Living Community—Billings, Mont.

We are very fortunate at this time for it not to have impacted us. We have a proactive HR department and competitive wages and salaries. Whether it will eventually catch up to us remains unseen. We are doing all that we can so we don't get caught in that crisis.

Yvonne Fish, Community Services Director
Sacred Heart-St. Mary's Hospital—Rhinelander, Wis.

We do have many vacancies and we have a lot of initiatives to recruit people. Fairview funded over 150 scholarships last year. We've received grants to help train workers from outside the United States. To keep the employees we have, we have career services, disability placement services, a job coach program and English as a second language coaches.

Laura Beeth, Director of Workforce Development
and Career Placement Services
Fairview Hospital—Minneapolis, Minn.

Our main shortage is with licensed nursing staff. We're not at a critical point yet, but it is difficult to recruit new nurses. The staff has been stretched thin. We have increased wages and we're in the process of coming up with new ideas to attract and retain staff. We also give staff bonuses for new recruits and work with the local college.

Scott Ross, Administrator
Christian Park Health Care Center
(nursing home)—Escanaba, Mich.

Currently, we have 3,200 employees and 100 positions posted. Of those, 30 are for nursing, 15 are in radiology and the remainder are in the technical and clerical areas. We are working with schools in the area to promote the health care industry ... and conducting programs across the county in which we pay for students to complete one year of schooling, and in return they come to work for us. All employers are going to continue to be challenged, especially as the baby boomers retire. There will have to be a major change in procedures.

Lee Lindquist, Director of Administration
Altru Health Systems (hospital, clinic and
home health care)—Grand Forks, N.D.