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Sanford offers up to $20K signing bonuses in face of nurse shortage

FARGO -- Sanford Health is offering signing bonuses of up to $20,000 for qualified nurses in Fargo and Bismarck, as the company seeks to meet a dire need brought on by its growth this year, officials said Tuesday.

FARGO -- Sanford Health is offering signing bonuses of up to $20,000 for qualified nurses in Fargo and Bismarck, as the company seeks to meet a dire need brought on by its growth this year, officials said Tuesday.

Sanford typically hires nurses in the spring or summer, when most students are finishing school, but the need is too great to wait until spring, said Chief Operating Officer Ellen Cooke.

Sanford Fargo is experiencing record patient volume across the board this year. Just in the past couple of weeks, one or two children were sent to sister facilities in Bismarck and Sioux Falls, S.D., due to a lack of staff, Cooke said.

"If we do have to send a patient to another facility, typically it's because of a bed," she said. "But on occasion, it is because of staffing," particularly the lack of nurses.

Sanford has more than 100 nurse openings in Fargo, though not all of those positions are eligible for the bonus, Cooke said.

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The bonus is for registered nurses with one or more years of acute care experience, such as hospital experience in a general medical surgical unit or an intensive care unit, she said. Applicants also have to undergo Sanford's usual screening and interview process.

"We're hoping to really attract some talent here," Cooke said. "We are advertising nationwide and hoping to bring some folks into the area that might not have otherwise considered North Dakota."

The advertisements are on LinkedIn and Facebook, and have already starting gaining traction since they appeared two weeks ago, Cooke said. A few bonuses have been finalized.

She acknowledged that $20,000 is high for a signing bonus.

"Certainly in the near past, we haven't been offering a bonus of that sort," Cooke said.

Sanford doesn't have a ceiling on how many they plan to give out, she said. "We hope to attract quite a number of nurses. We are anticipating a lot of interest."

Coping in the meantime has been "challenging," Cooke said. "We do ask our nurses to work more hours when that's possible, and we are using some temporary staff nurses."

She said Fargo's growing population is the main reason for the company's leap in patients this year. Overall, Sanford Fargo has seen 2 to 4 percent increases in patients this year compared to last, and "in some pockets more than 10 percent growth," according to a spokesman.

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Visit careers.sanfordhealth.org or call (701) 234-3905 to learn more about the sign-on bonuses.

Related Topics: HEALTHSANFORD HEALTH
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