Local Hospitals Report a Nursing Shortage: Recruiting to Fill Va - KOAM TV 7

Local Hospitals Report a Nursing Shortage: Recruiting to Fill Vacancies

Joplin, MO -

        A nationwide shortage of nurses hits home in the four states.

        Both Joplin hospitals have sixty or more openings for nurses.

     Freeman hospital is holding a nurse recruiting expo  tonight from 5:30 pm to 8:30pm in the west hospital conference rooms. But both hospitals are trying to lure more nurses to job vacancies that keep current staff working hard.

"I’m kept very busy," says Angie Kyler, a float nurse at freeman hospital. If there’s a department with a need for a nurse she can fill it.

"I always get my hours,” says Angie, “If I need more hours, I can get more hours.”

Deann Smith, a nurse care manager at Mercy says, "I don't do doubles, but I do extra days and we'll go to other hospitals in the Mercy system to help them as well.”

Freeman and Mercy both have openings for at least sixty registered nurses. April Bennett, Freeman’s vice president of nursing services says it’s a national problem. "According to the bureau of labor statistics they expect over a million job openings in nursing by the year 2022," says Bennett.

And they'll bring in traveling nurses to help. Nurses historically worked in hospitals at the bedside but they have more opportunities now with clinics, and physician offices and even insurance companies expanding the need for nurses. Plus it’s also a high stress field.

Dennis Manley, Mercy’s Chief Nursing Officer says, "Health cares is changing constantly and any time you have lots of change, there’s that potential for burnout."

Deann adds, “I have new stresses (as care manager) but it’s not as stressful as bedside nursing used to be. You feel pressed with time and getting things on schedule."

While hospitals are experiencing a nursing shortage now they say it could get  even worse because of retirement of nurses from the baby boomer age.

Bennett says,  "A large volume of our current nursing staff  are going to be retiring in the next several years."

So the push is on to keep nurses on staff and add more and hospitals have incentives.

Mercy’s Manley says, "Nurses coming to work would receive some bonuses. We have a package for new graduates to encourage them to come apply with us. We have a referral bonus for our coworkers here."

Freeman’s Bennett adds, "We have programs  such as the residency program where they can go ahead and apply now.  We can start using them as a student on the floors now as they are gaining that valuable experience. Then they can graduate and become a nurse here at Freeman."

 Once they're on the job nurses like Kyler say, "It's just rewarding. One hundred percent."


Officials say the number of openings has been out numbering the applicants. And they say vacancies are getting to a critical level.

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