Florida Health System Explores Incentives to Attract and Retain Nurses


FT. MEYERS - In an effort to curb its ongoing nursing shortage, Lee Memorial Health System in Ft. Myers, Fla., has launched an aggressive recruiting effort that taps a range of strategies such as traveling outside of the state for new talent, providing sign-on bonuses and other financial incentives, and offering flexible scheduling.

Since launching the campaign in March, Lee Memorial has recruited 145 nurses but will need about 220 more to meet current demand. To attract new talent, Lee Memorial recruiters have been traveling regularly to Ohio, Michigan, New York and several other states that typically fuel population growth in Southwest Florida.

In addition, recruiters have tapped international talent, hiring 54 nurses from India. The multi-hospital system also offers new nurse hires relocation assistance ranging from 15 percent of base pay for day nurses to 30 percent of base pay for night nurses, as well as a housing allowance of $850 per month for nurses' first six months of employment.

To remain competitive with other local hospitals, the system has spent a total of $5.4 million on merit-based raises and salary adjustments and has increased the incentives for night nurses by $4 an hour. Lee Memorial also has created programs designed to attract nurses who have retired from the workforce, offering a three-month nurse refresher program at Lee Memorial Hospital and Edison College.

Moreover, the system has launched an alumni campaign that seeks to reinstate former employees at their full benefits, an effort that has helped attract 12 nurses back to the system. To retain existing talent, the system has become more open to flexible scheduling and job sharing, and now maintains a pool of per-diem nurses who work as little as once a week or can opt for shorter shifts. The hospital system also recently installed software that offers nurses more control over their schedules and overtime shifts.



  • How would one go about contacting this recruiter at Lee Memorial Health System? I would like more information about these programs.

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    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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