Hiring managers across industries may struggle to attract and retain talent as an exhausted workforce pivots to post-pandemic life. Among healthcare workers, nurses in particular have reported widespread burnout, with some planning to leave their jobs for other roles outside of direct patient care, or to retire.
Now, health systems are offering steep sign-on bonuses. They’re looking to fill permanent roles as delayed care ramps back up, after relying heavily on expensive travel nurses throughout the pandemic.
Georgia-based Piedmont Healthcare is offering sign-on bonuses of up to $30,000 to attract new nurses to work there, so long as they commit to stay for two years, the nonprofit system with 11 hospitals said in an email statement.
Piedmont said the offer is working and it will continue it through July.
"So far, our offering of enhanced sign-on bonuses has penetrated the market and encouraged travel nurses to come off the road and has encouraged nurses outside the state to come to Georgia for full-time employment with our organization," Piedmont said in a release.
Penn State Health is offering $15,000 sign-on bonuses for hundreds of nurses at two facilities: Hampden Medical Center slated to open later this year, and Holy Spirit Medical Center. It's also offering increased rates, paid time off and shift differentials, according to its website.
Tenet-owned Baptist Health system in Texas is offering up to $20,000 bonuses for new nurses, lab associates, and other workers, according to a webpage on upcoming hiring events across two weeks in June. It’s looking for registered nurses to fill roles in a number of departments, including ICUs, medical surgical units, operating rooms and emergency rooms.
Nurses in certain specialties appear to be in higher demand, including those in units that dealt with COVID-19 patients, such as ICUs and medical surgical units, Iman Abuzeid, CEO of nurse staffing platform Incredible Health, said. Operating room nurses are also needed as systems look to recoup lost revenues after elective care delays.
There’s less demand for nurses in specialties like pediatric care and labor and delivery.
At the start of the pandemic, about 30% of the health systems using Incredible Health’s platform to recruit nurses offered sign-on bonuses. Today, that figure has grown to about 47%, Abuzeid said.
And throughout the pandemic last year, sign-on bonuses on the platform rose 12%, from an average of $8,200 to $9,190.
Nursing is one of the widest-held and fastest growing occupations in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Open nursing roles are expected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029 — much faster than the average for other occupations.
"My best guess and our projections are showing that the nurse shortage will continue," Abuzeid said.