March 25, 2002
Nationwide nursing shortage prompts Methodist Rehab to show prospective employees 'a day in the life'
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—In the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage, Methodist Rehabilitation Center is using an innovative approach to recruit nurses—they’re bringing them in by the bus load for a comprehensive, day-long tour of the facility and giving them an opportunity to experience a day in the life of the hospital.
“It’s kind of like Methodist Rehab 101,” said Kristi Sessions, a recruiter in the Jackson hospital’s human resources department. “Over the course of the day they’ll meet nursing supervisors, program directors, researchers and other staff members and have a chance to interact with some of our patients. They’ll also learn about our community programs and what makes us different.”
The day-long tours kick off Tuesday when 30 nursing students from Jones County Junior College arrive. “We have all kinds of things in store for them,” said special events manager Lauren Fairburn. “They’ll tour our spinal cord, brain injury, stroke and surgical floors, see the hospital’s motion analysis laboratory and learn about our commitment to research. When they leave here they’ll have a good idea of who we are and what we do.”
As the baby boomer population ages, the need for qualified and often specialized nurses grows. Increased patient loads and escalating pressure to treat more people, more quickly, has contributed to the nursing shortage and kept many young people from pursuing careers in nursing.
Like all hospitals, Methodist Rehab is having to spend more time recruiting dedicated and qualified people.
“We hope that programs and tours like this show nurses and nursing students how rewarding—both emotionally and financially—working here can be,” said Sessions. “We keep adjusting pay rates and offering sign-on bonuses, doing whatever we can to encourage them to join our team and become part of our family.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Connie McAlpin, a nursing instructor at Jones County Junior College. “In one day they’ll see more and learn more than they ever could in a single interview and I think they’ll get a lot out of the experience. It also gives our students a chance to learn more about spinal cord and brain injuries and see how they’re treated at a hospital the specializes in rehabilitation and traumatic injuries.”
Janice McGee, a 32-year veteran of the nursing profession and vice president of nursing at Methodist Rehab, knows that nursing isn’t an easy job. There are long hours and not everyone is suited to care for others.
“But we’re a little different than other hospitals,” said McGee. “Our patients are looking for an improved quality of life and our nurses play critical role in helping them get their lives back.”
For McGee meeting a patient who has been through a catastrophic injury is a learning experience. “When you see a patient recover and you know that you were a part of it, it’s just overwhelming. That family never forgets you and you never forget them.”
“This is the first time we’ve given a large group of candidates such a comprehensive look at our hospital, but it won’t be the last,” said Sessions. “We’re working with the nursing programs at other schools throughout the state and hope to arrange many more tours just like this one.
In April a group of nursing students from Hinds Community College will spend a day learning more about Methodist Rehab and the hospital will host a dinner at The Forum in Jackson for students from Hinds, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Alcorn, Mississippi College, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Anyone interested in a career in nursing at Methodist Rehab can call the hospital’s human resources office at 1-800-223-6672 ext. 3553 or e-mail Sessions at email@example.com for more information.
Nurses at Methodist Rehabilitation Center are a vital part of the team.