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Bayfront Health St. Pete works to recruit nurses amid nationwide shortage

Bayfront health
Posted at 2:51 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 18:23:48-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Thousands of hospitals in Florida are in a mad dash to hire nurses and nursing assistants as the industry deals with a high turnover rate and fierce competition from lucrative travel positions.

Yet, some local hospitals are stepping up to offer more perks to lure nurses through their doors.

Lorraine Parker, the Chief Nursing Officer at Bayfront Health St. Pete says they’re offering a perk to pay for college for those looking to get into nursing. They’ll also help pay back a student’s loans. Parker also says they’re offering high referral bonuses for both an employee who recruits someone and the new person brought on.

“It’s kind of a grow your own approach and I think they’re really big perks,” Parker elaborated.

On Thursday, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg held two career fairs to recruit nursing assistants. Recent job fairs have also aimed to attract nurses, medical assistants, surgical technologists, medical technologists, MRI technologists, radiology angiographers, radiology technologists, respiratory therapists, sonographers, sterile processing technicians, and medical technologists.

Parker says they have about 100 openings for nurses and certified nursing assistants alone.

The demand for nurses and nursing assistants is sky-high. The Florida Hospital Association expects Florida to be short 60,000 nurses within the next 13 years.

In order to combat our state’s nursing shortage, Florida needs to add 4,000 more nurses to the workforce each year for the next 15 years, the association says.

University of Tampa nursing student Takara Scatliffe is proud to be among that number. When she started her education, she never imagined kicking off her career during a global pandemic.

“I wondered how difficult it would be but it hasn’t discouraged me in any way. If anything, it has encouraged me to want to finish nursing school faster so that I can help,” she said with confidence.

Scatliffe was one of the first people to show up for a career fair at Bayfront Health St. Pete Thursday morning.

“Seeing patients after you help them and they are so thankful, I was like this is a great fit for me and I can help people in different ways,” she elaborated.

“The pandemic really brought a new wave of people forward who said I want to be part of this and I want to help. We are trying to hire nurses and nursing assistants in just about every position that we have. It’s been a challenging two years for healthcare, and we really need to fill these positions as we come out of this pandemic so that we can get back to providing healthcare services to the community,” Parker added.

You can read more about Bayfront Health St. Pete's job openings here.

You can read more about the Florida Hospital Association's report on the need for nurses here.