PITTSBURGH — University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has created a new in-house travel staffing agency in hopes of attracting nursing candidates amid a nationwide shortage.
According to a news release, UPMC is the first health system in the country to launch its own staffing agency — initially for registered nurses and surgical technologists, with the potential to evolve to include additional job roles.
“Providing the best possible care is always top priority at UPMC,” Gloria Kreps, vice president of public relations, said in the release. “Creating an in-house staffing agency is an innovative solution to assist in caring for our patients across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. It will strongly support our frontline teams with flexible means to provide additional support where and when it is needed most. This will help us take optimal care of our patients, and enable our own UPMC nurses and people who want to join UPMC to travel to hospitals within our system. The program will enable us to keep our own nurses, recruit new nurses to UPMC and bring back nurses who have left our system.”
Amid the pandemic, those agencies have reportedly increased what they charge hospitals for placements, which was a factor in UPMC’s decision to launch its own. Those independent agencies have also been attracting nurses away with premium wages, according to UPMC leaders.
With that being the case, UPMC hopes to bring nurses back and attract others with “very competitive” pay through its travel program. The hospital system is looking to hire about 800 travel nurses, to make $85/hour, with UPMC benefits. Jobs are already posted at careers.upmc.com
“I hope we’re able to bring some of the great nurses we lost back,” said Tami Minnier, UPMC Senior VP of the Health Services Division and Chief Quality and Operational Excellence Officer.
Minnier said the hope is to retain current employees as well, by providing them with the option to apply.
Travel nurses will be moved between facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. Eventually, they’ll need to be licensed in all three states.
The travel option is also available for surgical technologists.
Minnier told Channel 11 that there are plans in place to assure that staffing levels remain balanced between facilities.
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