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Archive for Sunday, October 28, 2001

$10,000 signing bonus offered

October 28, 2001

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— A Wichita hospital, preparing for an expansion in a tight nursing market, is offering $10,000 signing bonuses in an effort to hire 30 more nurses during the next 30 days.

Wesley Medical Center will first offer the bonuses, which will be paid out over two years, at a nurse recruiting fair Sunday in Wichita, spokeswoman Helen Thomas said.

The hiring effort comes as Wesley is beginning the first phase of a $220 million intensive-care addition and after new health centers have opened in the city, thinning the ranks of available nurses.

Wesley's competitor, Via Christi Regional Medical Center, is also expanding, adding 63 beds to its 1,500-bed hospital. The Catholic nonprofit has offered similar signing bonuses in the past, said Via Christi spokeswoman Roz Hutchinson.

Thomas said Wichita hospitals have to be creative to attract nurses.

"It's just gotten so competitive," she said, after a heart specialty hospital and outpatient surgery centers opened.

Health officials expect the shortage of nurses and other clinical staff to worsen as baby boomers age and hospitals see sicker patients.

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