5 things to know about hospitals' response to the US nursing shortage

Hospitals across the nation are increasingly investing in recruitment and retainment as they grapple with a nursing shortage, according to Reuters.

Here are five things to know.

1. Hospitals are offering various incentives to recruit and retain nurses. These include retention and signing bonuses, as well as other offerings such as higher pay and student loan repayment, according to the report. No-cost housing and career mentoring are also among hospitals' offerings.

2. Hospitals are investing more in "travel" nurses, who work for a temporary period of time, and foreign nurses, the report states. For instance, Reuters cites Charleston (W. Va.) Area Medical Center, which has doubled the amount it spends on travel nurses to $12 million compared to three years ago so the financially struggling hospital can continue operations.

3. Competition plays a role as well. Reuters, which interviewed more than 20 hospitals, notes rural hospitals are forced to offer higher pay and more benefits to stay competitive with metropolitan hospitals. The publication also notes hospitals must compete with clinics and insurance companies for staff.

4. Hospitals' recruitment and retainment efforts come amid a nursing shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of registered nurses nationwide will grow 16 percent by 2024, more than double the average growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations.

5. A number of factors contribute to the nursing shortage. Some cited by Reuters include the aging baby boomer population driving an increased need for medical services and more patients with complex medical conditions, as well as experienced nurses retiring.

Read the full Reuters report here.


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