OU Health Announces Initiatives To Strengthen Nursing Workforce Amid Shortage

Monday, August 2nd 2021, 9:05 pm
By: Erica Rankin

Health care facilities around the nation have been facing a nursing shortage and the pandemic has strained it even more. OU Health said they are no exception to the shortage.

"As far as opportunities for nurses it is like the wild, wild west and seeing nurses leave for heavy incentives sometimes it is hard to blame them with that much money going around," said James Brigida, a RN and Supervisor of OU Health's Emergency Department.

In Oklahoma, the Federal Bureau of Health Workforce has noted the state has 44,200 nurses which translates to 11.1 nurses per 1,000 people. And across OU Health's hospitals, there is a 19% nursing vacancy rate.

"Our new opportunities include relocation and sign on bonuses," said Dr. Julie Hoff, OU Health's Interim Chief Nursing Officer and Dean of the OU College of Nursing. "Additionally, we are offering a weekend and a travel at home program and a nursing degree accelerator program."

With a 47% turnover rate, OU Health announced they will also be giving retention bonuses to its current nursing workforce. The specific amount of money will depend on position.

"They are here and there will be three of them," said Hoff.

Hoff said what Oklahoma is experiencing right now with the nursing shortage is the worst she has seen in her 30-year career. She has high hopes these measures they are taking will help bring in and retain nurses to be a part of their OU Health team.

"That is the beauty of being the dean and chief nursing executive," said Hoff. "Because you can support the development and security of the profession."