Nurses are in high demand — and limited supply.
So says a new report from Stamford-based job-search firm Indeed that found that registered nurses and licensed practical nurses ranked in 2017 among the 10 most-searched terms on its service for employers. Local hospitals are also hard-pressed to fill all their nursing positions — a shortage they are tackling by expanding recruitment and development programs.
“It’s kind of a perpetual gap for us,” said Melissa Turner, vice president of talent acquisition for the Yale New Haven Health system, which includes Bridgeport, Greenwich and Yale New Haven hospitals. “We are deeply committed to finding the right candidates for our culture and who meet the quality expectations of our patients. The bar is very high.”
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Nursing positions in the Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford labor market earn an annual average of $76,555, according to Indeed’s data. In comparison, the overall average private-sector salary in the area runs at $87,709, according to the most recent state Department of Labor data.
Nursing salaries are higher than in previous generations, but increasing pay has not solved the labor shortages, Indeed said.
Stamford Health, the system that includes Stamford Hospital, said it is hiring more nurses than ever. It now employs about 800 registered nurses and is recruiting for about 30 open positions.
“Like many hospitals, it can be challenging to fill every nursing position in specialty areas; more specifically, those areas at Stamford Hospital have included the operating room and critical care,” Stamford Health officials said in a statement.
Western Connecticut Health Network — which includes Norwalk, Danbury and New Milford hospitals — faces a similar predicament.
“While we currently draw a very strong applicant pool of nurses, the biggest challenge is filling nursing roles that require specific training for units like the intensive care unit, maternity, neonatal intensive care unit and to care for our aging population,” Amy Tsiropoulos, WCHN’s director of strategic staffing, said in an email.
WCHN did not disclose current nurse staffing levels or the number of vacancies.
The aging of the profession — with many nurses nearing retirement — also contributes to the high number of openings. “Some of our best talent are considering next chapters of lives,” Turner said. “We have to constantly be on our toes to attract and retain people.”
The Yale New Haven Health system employs about 5,000 nurses, with about 500 openings. The nursing vacancy rate has stayed consistent in recent years.
Meanwhile, demand locally and nationwide continues to rise. The number of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — a rate the BLS describes as “much faster than average.”Read Full Article
To tackle the supply-demand disparities, southwestern Connecticut hospitals are expanding their recruitment and development initiatives. Reflecting its focus on advancing employees, some 45 percent of WCHN’s openings are filled by internal candidates.
“Attracting and retaining great talent is core to our ability to achieve WCHN’s strategic organizational objective to grow,” Tsiropoulos said. “Nurses are integral to this growth. We recognize that the market is extremely competitive, especially for highly sought-after specialty nurses, which is why we have implemented many programs to attract, develop and retain nurses.”
Stamford Health’s efforts include its “Graduate: Engaged, Mastering & Succeeding” program to recruit new nurses with nursing degrees. The 12-week orientation initiative supports recent graduates by assigning them to medical or surgical units where they are overseen by experienced mentors.
Among its new development programs, the Yale New Haven Health system piloted last year at Greenwich Hospital a 12-month operating room nurse residency program. The inaugural group of five nurses graduated in January, and the program is set to expand to the system’s other hospitals.
“It’s an investment in our future,” Turner said. “The gift of the program is we now have a group of five nurses who are highly skilled and deeply committed to this work in an OR setting. They have a unique perspective and are extremely grateful for that opportunity.”
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