Will These Tactics Attract — and Keep — Nurses?

Recruiting new nurses and retaining the ones already on board is a challenge for many hospitals, especially as baby boom RNs retire at an ever-quickening pace. Next month, University of Missouri Health Care will begin offering nurses and other health professionals up to $10,000 in student loan debt relief if they agree to work in high-volume patient units, the Columbia Tribune reports. MU Health already offers cash rewards of up to $10,000 for non-supervisory employees who refer nurses and other needed professionals. In 2016, that resulted in 172 new hires and rewards to 21 employees. Meanwhile, Boone Hospital Center, also in Columbia, has launched a nurse residency program to persuade recent graduate nurses to remain. Mentoring new nurses for 12 months, combining classroom and clinical settings, and helping them transition from an academic to a professional environment are part of the program. Cutting turnover could save $1 million over three years, officials told the Tribune. The nursing staff will play a pivotal role in ensuring that hospitals and health systems meet the mandates of health care transformation, and, as we’ve reported before, hospitals across the nation are adopting creative tactics to maintain a robust workforce.

Suprise Gift for Premature Hippo

Fiona the premature hippoA hippo born six weeks early at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden received a special gift from nurses, who demonstrated that good care applies to all species. A recent CBS news report says the nursing staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit delivered a care package to the 29-pound baby hippo, named Fiona. An average newborn hippo weighs between 55 and 120 pounds. The package includes a baby book tracing Fiona’s journey, stuffed animal hippo, pacifier, four superhero capes signed by 200 staff members and "beads of courage." “The NICU team wanted to pass along a gift to show support to Fiona and her caregivers, so they put the care package together,” Rachel Wilson, the NICU clinical director said to CBS. Little Fiona is reportedly making progress toward standing, the report notes.

Audit Over-does It

More than 49,000 medical professionals in California were thrown for a loop after receiving audit letters from the state Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians. According to the Sacramento Bee, the letters had nurses scrambling to prove that their credentials were up to date. The board typically sends such letters to 2,400 nurses and psychiatric technicians every year, but because of a breakdown in communication between two state agencies, it inadvertently requested credentials from a third of all the licensed workers in those groups, a state spokeswoman told the newspaper. “Everyone I know was being audited,” said Katrise Fraund, a senior psychiatric technician from Sonoma County.