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New York hospital doubles sign-on, referral bonuses to recruit nurses

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Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital, part of Upper Allegheny Health System, said it is seeking nurses and offering incentives to help with those efforts.

The hospital has more than 200 nurses. However, it needs more, with the need varying by unit, Greg Kloss, senior director of human resources for Upper Allegheny Health System, told Becker's.

"Hospitals everywhere are experiencing a nurse shortage," he wrote in an email. "Retirements and nurses electing to move to other opportunities such as traveling nurses or non-acute positions. This is a national issue. There are not enough nurses to meet the demand nationwide."

Immediate openings at Olean General are in the emergency room, medical-surgical area and intensive care unit.  Mr. Kloss said many other units and services have sufficient staffing.

To recruit nurses, Olean General has doubled bonuses for sign-on and for recruitment referral. Mr. Kloss did not disclose the specific bonus amounts but said they "are competitive with other hospitals."

Upper Allegheny Health System, which also includes Bradford (Pa.) Regional Medical Center, has been working on recruiting efforts throughout 2021, according to the Olean Times Herald.

Mr. Kloss said other efforts include paid advertising and working with the union bargaining unit that represents Olean General nurses to look at ways to recruit and retain experienced nurses.

Additionally, he told the Times Herald that Olean General recently hired 22 new nurses, mostly graduates of Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College. Some have already started their role, while others will start June 21.

Mr. Kloss told the newspaper Olean General also hired nine full-time, experienced nurses. 

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