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Published on June 01, 2016

MU Health Care: Getting Creative to Recruit Experienced Nurses

At University of Missouri Health Care, the demand for highly specialized inpatient care has never been higher, especially in internal medicine, neurosciences and psychiatric units.

And while MU Health Care in Columbia has more than 500 physician specialists able to treat patients with complex illnesses and injuries, a nationwide nursing shortage is affecting central Missouri.

"Traditionally, hospitals have offered nurses sign-on bonuses as a means of recruitment and retention," said Peter Callan, director of talent acquisition for MU Health Care. "But some hospitals have found sign-on bonuses to be ineffective in combatting the nursing shortage. This approach can also be very disruptive to the community when nurses move back and forth between different area hospitals."

MU Health Care launched a new nursing recruitment campaign this week that takes a different tack. The health system is hoping current employees will help recruit experienced registered nurses.

MU Health is offering non-supervisory staff a referral reward of $10,000 for each qualified RN they recruit to work in internal medicine, psychiatric or neuroscience inpatient units from June 1 through Dec. 31. Non-supervisory staff at the university’s academic medical center can also receive a $5,000 reward for recruiting RNs hired for any other bedside nursing careers. And for those employees who successfully recruit RNs to MU Health Care, the cash reward comes with an added bonus: entry into a drawing for an all-expenses-paid trip for four to Hawaii. That drawing will be held the week before Thanksgiving.

"MU Health has experienced unprecedented growth in inpatient volumes over the past five years," said Mitch Wasden, chief executive officer. "To do this, we are turning to the people who are the best recruiters of all for MU Health Care — our employees. They are the ones who understand that this is a rewarding and fulfilling place to work."

To kick off the campaign, MU Health Care is sponsoring a nurse career fair from 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, on the second-floor mezzanine of University Hospital. More information about nursing positions and employee rewards is available at