Unity Health offering big bonuses in effort to sign nurses

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - Unity Health has offered referral and signing bonuses in the past, but now they’re going bigger than ever, with a $15,000 signing bonus for new bedside nurses.

LaDonna Johnston, the vice president of Unity Health’s Newport campus, says that while Newport’s campus doesn’t have as much of a need as the primary campus in Searcy, she’s seen nurses burn out and get sick often.

And being one nurse down in a more rural hospital is a bigger hit than it is at a larger facility.

“A nurse typically takes care of one-in-six patients, hopefully,” Johnston said. “So if you think about adding 24 or 25 more patients, you need four more nurses. And you need them on day shift, you need them on night shift, so that adds up quickly.”

Johnston said that she’s seen hospitals from all over the state raise their bonuses as well, with even nursing homes getting in on the mix, all competing to hire nurses.

She also spoke about how schools are rushing to get new nurses out into the workforce, at the demand of the healthcare industry.

“30, 40 years ago, we would spend days in the hospital as student nurses working in the hospital,” Johnston said. “Now, maybe once a week, they’ll come spend a day in a hospital. It’s a really bad spot to be in for all of us.”

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