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Nurses Receive Up To $30,000 in Sign-On Bonuses: A 2021 Healthcare Trend

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Key Takeaways

  • The nursing shortage in the country is growing, and many employers have used bonusing as a way to recruit and retain nursing staff.
  • Hospital programs in states including Pennsylvania, Alabama, Michigan, and New Mexico are currently all offering either thank you bonuses or sign-on bonuses to existing or potential employees.
  • Piedmont Hospital System in Atlanta is currently offering the highest sign-on bonus with $30,000 offered to new nursing staff.

Sign-on bonuses are offered to potential employees as an incentive to encourage applicants to move to a new city. These bonuses have become increasingly popular following the COVID-19 pandemic when many nurses moved all over the country to help fight the virus. Sign-on bonuses are important for recruitment, retention, and to ensure nurses and other employees have financial stability if they choose to move to a new hospital or employer. 

These bonuses are also a way to mitigate the growing nursing shortage. RegisteredNursing.org recently reported that the number of RNs needed in the United States is estimated to skyrocket by 28.4%, from 2.8 million to 3.6 million. “Most states are projected to keep up with demand,” stated the report, “[but] there are many places that are expected to have significant shortages in registered nurses.”1

Sign-on bonuses are a way to fill this demand in states that may not be able to find available nurses, especially the more rural states. Some of these states include:2

  • Pennsylvania (Hershey)
  • New Mexico (Albuquerque)
  • Texas (San Antonio)
  • Georgia (Atlanta)

Penn State Health

Bonus deets: Located in Hershey, PA, Penn State Health is offering $15,000 sign-on bonuses to fill hundreds of positions for it’s newest hospital, Hampden Medical Center, which is slated to open in October 2021. The hospital hopes to hire 400 workers for the opening but will gradually increase to 1000 employees. 

In addition to Hampden Medical Center, Penn State Health seeks to immediately fill about 200 openings at Holy Spirit Medical Center in Camp Hill, PA and is offering $15,000 sign-on bonuses for this location. To attract staff to both locations, Penn State Health is offering enticements, like improved pay for certain shifts and more paid time off for nurses, according to the report. The bonus applies to Hampden and Holy Spirit locations.3

Who should apply? For the positions in Hershey, the hospital is looking for experienced RNs. In Camp Hill, PA, nurses should apply who have at least 6 months of experience.  

Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Albuquerque

Bonus deets: The New Mexico-based hospital and rehab center is offering $15,000 sign-on bonuses to new full-time employees in exchange for a 2-year work agreement.4 “In talking with our hospital, the pandemic has resulted in many people moving away from the area,” the organization said in a statement. “These bonuses are being offered as a way to help bring our hospital’s nurse staffing numbers back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Who should apply:  Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and rehabilitation nursing technicians. Encompass is also offering new licensed practical nurses $5,000 sign-on bonuses and new rehabilitation nursing technicians $2,500 sign-on bonuses. 

Baptist Health System

Bonus deets: Located in San Antonio, TX, Baptist Health System is offering up to $20,000 sign-on bonuses for positions at  the Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio.5 The health system is also offering relocation assistance to job seekers.

Sign-on bonusing isn’t a new concept for Baptist. Back in April 2021, the system offered bonuses for positions at its North Central Baptist Hospital and its St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital, both in San Antonio.5  

Who should apply: New nurses, particularly those who can work in the intensive care unit, and patient care and lab associates. 

Piedmont

Bonus deets: The highest sign-on bonus in the list belongs to Piedmont, an Atlanta-based health system, who is offering $30,000 for nurses to work there.6 

Matt Caseman, CEO of the Georgia Nurses Association, said in an interview that Georgia is at an all-time low for available bedside nurses. Causes of the supply crunch include nurse burnout from pandemic duties, an aging workforce, and RNs leaving for jobs that are less stressful – and often higher-paying.7

Georgia currently has about 10 nurses per 10,000 patient population, which is the fifth-lowest ratio in the nation. Execs in the state are hopeful that the high bonus incentive will help fill this need and employ nursing staff as quickly as possible.  

Who should apply: The hospital system is primarily looking for nurses to work in the critical care and intensive care units, med-surg, the emergency department, and other specialties. Piedmont also is offering up to $18,000 in sign-on bonuses for respiratory therapists.6

References

  1. Burger C. The states with the largest nursing shortages. RegisteredNursing.org. Updated April 14, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  2. Gooch K. 6 hospitals, health systems offering sign-on or pandemic bonuses. Becker’s Hospital Review. Published June 1, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  3. Gooch K. Penn State Health has hundreds of open positions, offering $15K signing bonuses to RNs. Becker’s Hospital Review. Published May 27, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  4. Gooch K. New Mexico rehab hospital offers $15K sign-on bonuses to nurses. Becker’s Hospital Review. Published May 19, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  5. Haefner M. Baptist Health System offers $20K sign-on bonuses to nurses, care associates. Becker’s Hospital Review. Published May 10, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  6. Haefner M. Piedmont offering up to $30K sign-on bonus for nurses. Becker’s Hospital Review. Published May 27, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. 
  7. Miller A. Facing ‘worst ever’ demand for nurses, some hospitals offering unprecedented bonuses. Georgia Health News. Published May 27, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021.

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