Memphis-area hospitals say they need more nurses as COVID-19 cases continue rise

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nurses are needed at area hospitals across the Mid-South.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the country, and we see cases continue to increase here in the Mid-South, two area hospitals encourage registered nurses to apply. These hospitals said there is a growing need, and they are offering incentives to get more applicants.

“There is a shortage,” Deborah Esmon, a registered nurse, chief nursing officer Vice President at Methodist Hospital North, said. “But it’s largely due to really the pandemic, and the increased need for more nurses and the COVID pandemic and people are just coming in a little more sick.”

Nursing leaders with Methodist and Baptist Memorial Healthcare corporation acknowledge there is a need for more nurses in the Mid-South. 

“I have been a nurse since 1977,” Susan Ferguson, the Vice President and Chief nurse executive for Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation, said. “So, throughout my career we’ve seen these ebbs and flows so we’re accustomed to dealing with these challenges.”

Ferguson said they have processes in place to handle staffing challenges. 

So we’re accustomed to being very nimble and very flexible and being able to move staff to where the need is at that time,” Ferguson said.

In order to encourage more applicants Baptist offers a $5,000 signing bonus along with other incentives. Methodist said they have offered enhanced pay, seasonal nursing and other programs as well. 

Both hospitals acknowledged traveling nurses and the option to make a significant amount of money, especially in places hit hard by COVID-19. 

“A lot have stayed here even though there have been some extraordinary offers for salaries outside of the Mid-South area,” Esmon said.

Ferguson added, “What we’ve tried to do is make our own programs that we have very competitive and very attractive so that our staff will find that as a very favorable option to stay here, treat the patients in their community but also to be able to stay home with their families.”

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Baptist Memorial Healthcare

Methodist Hospital

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