DANVILLE — Geisinger is launching a travel nurse program for eligible inpatient registered nurses in an effort to tackle ongoing staffing challenges within the health system’s footprint.
The program will be open to internal and external candidates, hospital officials said.
“The staffing shortages facing virtually every industry — and especially health care — are real,” said Janet Tomcavage, Geisinger executive vice president and chief nursing executive. “Our clinical staff are working tirelessly. By expanding our offerings, we hope to attract more registered nurses to Geisinger. That way, we can alleviate the challenges of staffing shortage in our hospitals and continue our mission of making better health easier for our communities.”
According to a release from the hospital, the initial launch will focus on inpatient care, specifically in adult medical-surgical and intensive care units. Traveling nurses will go to the Geisinger hospitals with the greatest staffing needs.
Jeff Lowry, associate vice president of recruitment for Geisinger, said the goal is to give nurses options and flexibility.
“Our hope is that the program will help us recruit nurses locally and nationally who are looking for short-term assignments,” he said. “These efforts will help us have more staff available to provide safe, timely and effective care to our patients and members.”
Nurses accepted to the travel program will complete a 12-week assignment and then can either begin another 12-week assignment or apply for a full-time position with Geisinger. Travel nurses will be eligible for 401K employer contributions, medical insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act and an allowance of up to $96 per day in their paycheck if assigned to a location 60 miles or more from their current location.
UPMC announced a similar program in December when it announced an in-house nurse traveling program. UPMC hoped to hire 800 nurses for the new initiative including former staff who left for more lucrative agency work.
Cheryl Williams was assigned to Geisinger Medical Center while working for an external travel nurse agency before becoming the very first nurse to join Geisinger’s new travel program.
“My decision to sign on as a nurse traveler at Geisinger was driven by the positive work environment, supportive staff and employees’ great work ethics,” said Williams. “With this new program, I have the best of both worlds: the ability to travel while staying in the Geisinger system. It’s a great place to work, with many career options and opportunities.”