One of the region's largest healthcare networks is trying something new to attract and retain nurses. Mercy Health Systems is offering to repay some student loans for nurses in critical areas.
Human Resources Vice President Allan Calogne says competition for nurses means the system has between 1,500 and 2,000 openings at any given time. "The voluntary turnover in the nursing space is ticking up quite a bit, especially as the economy has gotten better," he says. "We've seen voluntary turnover of almost 18 percent. That's quite a bit higher than it has been historically."
Calogne says the program will repay up to $20,000 worth of student loans. He says the program started in August and has had about 600 nurses sign up since.
"We've tried to get creative with our programs. Obviously pay and benefits are important and we're doing a lot to address with more competitive pay and what we think are really competitive benefits," he says. "But we felt this program was creative and new and something we could attract some attention to."
Calogne says Mercy isn't aware of any other hospital group in the Cincinnati area or in Ohio offering a similar benefit.