Hospital plans festive fairs to find nurses
Published: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 8:56 p.m.
North Florida Regional Medical Center is searching for a few good nurses. And the northwest Gainesville hospital is willing to throw a fiesta to recruit them.
North Florida Regional Medical Center will hold two career fairs for nurses, today and Feb. 3.
Nurse recruiter Jodi Matts said the medical center will host an "Ole Fiesta" career fair for graduating nurses this afternoon from 3 to 5 at Don Pablo's, a Mexican restaurant across from North Florida Regional Medical Center on Newberry Road.
"We are celebrating all of the nurses in the immediate vicinity who will be be graduating as a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) or RN (registered nurse) from the University of Florida or any other school in the area in 2006," Matts added.
It will be one part celebration, two parts recruiting effort.
"It's still like an interview, but they get to see the manager outside the realm of the hospital," said the recruiter.
North Florida Regional, a private facility, must compete for nursing talent with Shands at UF, Shands at AGH, Gainesville's Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other area hospitals, Matts said.
With the average age of a registered nurse approaching 47 nationally, the competition for "new blood" involves constant effort.
North Florida has tried to get into the game early by providing $3,000 scholarships to nurses now in school. For each stipend, the nurse is asked to contract for a year's employment at the hospital after graduation.
The hospital provided 48 such scholarships to nurses graduating in April or May of this year, and has awarded 28 more for 2007 nursing graduates.
"For students who have taken a two-year degree, we also offer educational assistance for them to go on in school," she said. "These people are our future."
Matts said the hospital has launched a number of programs to help retain the nurses they recruit.
"We want to bring that nurse in and keep them, whether through flexible hours, competitive salaries or our good working conditions," she said.
The recruiter urged registered nurses in the area who are interested in programs at North Florida Regional to attend a second job fair set for Feb. 3.
The career fairs will offer even more than an opportunity to mix and mingle, she promised.
"We will not only have on-the-spot interviews, but will make on-the-spot offers, as well."
Diane Chun can be reached at (352) 374-5041 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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