Maine health system looks to the Philippines to recruit nurses: 5 things to know

Lewiston, Maine-based St. Mary's Health System has taken an international approach to nurse recruitment, according to a Sun Journal report.

Five things to know:

1. St. Mary's, which is owned by Tewksbury, Mass.-based Covenant Health, tried various nurse recruitment methods. For example, it offered signing bonuses of up to $10,000 and showed up at local college coffee-and-doughnut hours.

2. After the recruitment left St. Mary's with 70- 75 openings, including 20 at its 200-bed d'Youville Pavilion nursing home. Meanwhile, nurses in the Philippines were searching for better job opportunities overseas, and longtime staff members at d'Youville Pavilion, who were originally from the Philippines, suggested St. Mary's look internationally, according to the report.

3. St. Mary's eventually teamed up with an international healthcare staffing agency, PassportUSA. The agency presented 30 initial candidates, and St. Mary's ended up hiring 13 experienced Filipino nurses for d'Youville Pavilion.

4. Nursing director Marissa Varney told the Sun Journal: "It will be good for our patients, first and foremost. We've used travelers [short-term contract nurses], but they're only here for 13 weeks. Sometimes they extend it for another 13 weeks, but it's not the same. Having the continuity with staff, having the patient know who's taking care of them, it's big. It's huge."

5. The new hires come as Maine faces a nursing shortage. A statewide study estimates Maine will have a shortage of 3,200 RNs by 2025.

Click here to read the full Sun Journal report, including information about nurse openings at other Maine hospitals.



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