Stanford Health in Fargo, N.D., is so desperate for nurses that they are willing to give their new recruits a $15,000 signing bonus, if they agree to stay on the job for at least three years. Nurses who apply must have at least two years of experience. After announcing the incentive plan, the hospital hired a dozen nurses in about a week.
Other hospitals in the state aren’t necessarily matching that hiring trend, often because they want to be fair to their current staff. Others say the nursing shortage isn’t so serious, although only about 60 percent of nursing graduates stay in the state. Essential Health in Fargo isn’t offering the extravagant hiring bonus, but they do say retaining experienced nurses is a challenge. A spokewoman for MedCenter One said, “In the not too distant future the shortage is going to be more and more acute.” That’s due to the aging population.