South Georgia hospitals stay ahead of nursing shortage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia hospitals stay ahead of nursing shortage

October 22, 2003
Albany- Tabitha Ford is not afraid to use a needle. In fact, it's one of the things she does best.

Ford is a senior nursing student at Darton College and will graduate in May. With a nationwide nursing shortage, she's not dreading the job hunt.

"I know that Phoebe always needs nurses, good nurses," Ford said.

So do most hospitals across the country. At Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the nursing shortage has had little effect.

Hospital leaders stay ahead by looking for ways to bring in new nurses. There are scholarships for nursing students who will work for the hospital. Some positions even have signing bonuses.

"We are of course competitive with salaries and benefits to anyone across our region and the state," said Jane Johnston, a senior vice president at Phoebe.

Although the recruiting process is important, retaining nurses is the greatest challenge.

"So what we try to do is to develop different programs or scheduling where we can meet an individual's needs at whatever stage they're at in terms of their life," Johnston said.

Because nurses are needed 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It's not an easy job either, and it's one you have to love.

"Your not going to make it through the nursing course, if you don't have a passion for it, and you have to be really dedicated," Ford said.

Ford has that passion. And it will show every time she pricks a patient.

posted at 8:20 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com