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Home E-Weekly April 10, 2018

National Nursing Shortage Means Big Signing Bonuses

Published: April 10, 2018

Signing Bonus MONEY TALKS Hospitals are using 5-figure signing bonuses to recruit OR nurses.

A housing allowance, tuition reimbursement and, best of all, a signing bonus of $10,000 or more: these are among the inducements some hospitals are offering OR nurses to fill the ever-increasing number of positions available. But some worry that recruiting nurses with financial inducements will encourage job hopping and lead to lower retention rates.

A job board that includes a curated list of classifieds that offer at least a $10,000 signing bonus for nurses includes more than 300 listings from all over the nation, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Nevada. In addition to a singing bonus, some of these jobs also promise relocation expense reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, continuing education and/or a housing allowance.

And then there are places that go further. One Washington D.C. hospital is offering a $20,000 signing bonus along with up to another $20,000 for relocation expenses, while a West Virginia hospital gives a $10,000 signing bonus along with housing assistance and tuition reimbursement.

Not everyone thinks this is a good thing. Both the American Nurses Association and American Nurses Credentialing Center have expressed concern that signing bonuses could hurt retention and lead to job-hopping. To prevent this, fine print on many of these bonuses avoid lump sum payments or require the nurses to return the bonus if they leave before a set period of time.

The American Nurses Association estimates a million new registered nurses will be needed over just the next three years. Last month Moody's Investor Service warned to expect an "extreme nursing shortage" over the next few years. Meanwhile the number of nursing jobs available is expected to grow by 15% over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Richard Abowitz

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