Hospital can't hire nurses fast enough

Big jumps in patient admissions have spurred University Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City to hire more nurses, KCRG-TV reports.

By the end of the month, University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City will have added 142 nurses, since July 1, when the new fiscal year started, the Associated Press reports. That's 13 times more than the 19 hired over the same period last year. For FY 2010, it hired 116 nurses in total.

The daily inpatient census has grown by between 50 and 70 patients this year, Chief Nursing Officer Ann Williamson told KCRG, with the daily census running between 540 and 630.

To move the new hires through orientation--a six- to 12-week process, depending on the unit and nurse's background--existing nurses have had to take on overtime and extra shifts.

Although the overtime, which pays an extra $15 per hour, was initially a welcome change after a year when patient numbers were down, the heavier work load has burnt some nurses out. To help fill the gaps,the hospital also brought in 12 traveling nurses.
The hospital also is using an incident command system to hire and get nurses on the job quicker.

To learn more:
- read the KCRG-TV story
- here's the Associated Press story

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