South Carolina health system hires 80+ travel nurses in a month

Amid a nationwide nursing shortage, Charleston, S.C.-based Roper St. Francis Healthcare hired 81 nurses in the month of August, local CBS affiliate WCSC reported Sept. 20. 

That's 92 percent of the system's original goal of hiring 88 nurses in August. By next week, it expects to hire an additional 173 nurses. 

Most of the new hires are travel nurses whose contracts range from six to 12 weeks, Marissa Jamarik, DNP, vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at the health system, told WCSC

Roper St. Francis also hired more than 80 respiratory therapists within the last month in response to an influx of patients requiring critical care. The additions have allowed the system's hospitals to free up space in the emergency rooms, Dr. Jamarik said. 

At the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, the RN turnover rate has increased from 16 percent in 2019-20, to 24.6 percent in 2021 — the result of nurses leaving their full-time staff positions for higher-paying travel jobs, officials told the news outlet. The medical center currently has 289 nurses going through orientation, and plans to hire 81 additional travel nurses. 

Hospitals have relied on travel nurses during COVID-19 surges, especially in areas facing severe staff shortages, with the lucrative contracts fueling a tense labor market in which hospitals have had to compete with high-paying travel nurse companies.

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