Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm
health facilites despite nursing shortage
Hospital and clinic officials do not appear worried that a shortage of nurses in the area and around the country will make it difficult to fill positions created by facilities expansion projects.
The nursing vacancy rate in the Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospitals system is about 6%, more than 4% lower than the national average of 10.2%, said Sally Brenner, marketing director for Columbia-St. Mary’s.
And there has not been a shortage of applicants at St. Mary’s Hospital in Ozaukee County, where a $38 million expansion project will create 107,000 square feet of new space, Brenner said. She attributes the lack of a lack of nurses to the Mequon hospital’s location and foresight in staffing planning.
Nurses who live in the area and have been commuting to Milwaukee hospitals will have opportunities to work closer to home, Brenner said. Also, the hospital is near a number of nursing schools, including its own Columbia College of Nurisng, Concordia University across the street and Cardinal Stritch University just down the road, from which to draw employees.
Hospital officials began staffing planning for the hospital additions last November, Brenner said. Even if there are no full-time nursing positions open, the hospital always hires into its resource pool. Nurses in the resource pool work shifts as needed on a part-time basis. When full-time positions open up, nurses can move from the resource pool into a full-time rotation, already trained and acclimated to the hospital.
At Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, the prospect of working in a brand new heart and vascular center already is drawing interest from nurses, said Kerry Freiberg, the hospital’s marketing director.
“We’re optimistic about bringing people here,” Freiberg said. “We’ve already had a lot of interest from people wanting to know when we will start hiring for the center.”
It’s a similar situation for Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, which is building a 22,000-square-foot clinic in the Oconomowoc Corporate Center. Clinic positions are coveted among nurses because they typically do not include evening or weekend hours, said Sarah Estell, spokesperson for the hospital.
And then there are some hospital expansion projects which are not creating jobs that will require hiring more nurses. Elmbrook Memorial Hospital expanding its surgical unit, but rather than needing to hire more nurses to staff the it, the expansion will allow more surgeries to be conducted during day hours, cutting down second- and third-shift needs and allowing more nurses to work during the day, said Gigi Rutkowski, the hospital’s director of community relations.
Aug. 17, 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee