With an ever-growing nursing shortage affecting hospitals across the United States, some institutions are considering new ways to improve retention rates, namely, substantial sign-on bonuses. These bonuses, often as high as $20,000 for experienced nurses, are offered as an incentive to either join or remain at an organization.
The Shortage Situation
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), the U.S. will need to produce 1.1 million nurses by the year 2022 in order to fill jobs and replace retirees. And though there are a large number of recent grads set to enter the workforce, hospitals would rather hire experienced nurses. Acute care facilities often want nurses with at least two years of experience to ensure the best patient care, leaving many new graduates jobless and the nursing pool at a deficit.
Sign-on bonuses are increasingly being used to attract and retain experienced nurses. Fierce Health Finance reports that Portland Regional Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana has been offering $7,500 bonuses to critical care or emergency room nurses who have at least two years of experience. Hospitals in Atlanta have offered $10,000 to $20,000 in signing bonuses and relocation packages to encourage experienced nurses to join their organizations. Catheterization lab and labor and delivery nurses are among those the area is in particular need of. In order to qualify for the bonus, nurses must agree to work for the hospital for a minimum of two years.
Will Sign-On Bonuses Do the Trick?
Though bonuses have long been a common practice for physicians, their prevalence in nursing is still fairly recent. It’s reported that half of all non-physician providers were offered a signing bonus in 2014, compared to just 11 percent in 2013. This is a significant increase in such a short amount of time and a testament to the urgent shortage of nurses and other clinical support staff facing the country.
Many hospitals that offer sign-on bonuses are finding success with this strategy, and have been able to hire and keep a solid number of nurses to meet their growing needs.