Keeping Nurses in East Texas

by Kirby Gibbs

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Even with millions of dollars being invested into nursing programs, local hospitals say of all the vacancies in medical positions, not every nursing graduate is running to fill them. KTRE looked into why nurses are leaving, and what local hospitals are doing to recruit and retain future nursing graduates.

"I would like to apply for Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, as well as Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth and the Children's Hospital in Dallas", confesses SFA nursing student Jennifer Broussard.

She may not have decided exactly what hospital she wants to work at, but she does know, she's headed to the big city.

The Nurse Recruiter of Memorial Health Systems told KTRE, "They're young, in their twenties and thirties and they want to experience the big city life. Here at memorial though what we're offering is those same services that the larger hospitals offer with some of the latest technologies."

Lufkin and Nacogdoches have some of the highest ranked hospitals in the state. Even with state of the art facilities and friendly staff it hasn't convinced some students to make this their home.

"I feel like in those areas you get to see more exciting things than just staying in Nacogdoches or East Texas area because a lot of the time things that happen here" says Broussard, "if it's serious it gets shipped to the bigger cities where they have more care opportunities."

"A lot of those same people though come back. We have a lot of our nurses that go out into larger areas and then they end up coming back here because this is home" says Christy.

So why be a nurse in East Texas....

According to Christy, "The culture here is friendly, we take care of our own, we work together as a team, we ensure that they have a great experience. Our full time employees get 25 days a year of paid time off and they can cash that in at a hundred percent. The health insurance here is wonderful".

And the great pay is bonus too.