January 31, 2013

Program rewards employees who refer new nurses

Under the Nurse Referral Bonus Program, Vanderbilt will pay $2,500 to any employee who successfully refers a BSN nurse with at least one year of prior experience for a full-time nursing position, with additional incentives also available.

Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., talks about the new nurse referral program at Tuesday’s Medical Center Nurses Board meeting. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center this week unveiled a new Nurse Referral and Relocation Program with substantial incentives.

“We are experiencing unprecedented growth and volumes in all of our hospitals and clinics, and we are trying to make sure we hire the absolute best people that we can to join our teams,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., executive chief nursing officer, at Tuesday’s Medical Center Nurses Board meeting. “Like other institutions of our size, we need to look for creative ways to find the nurses that meet our standards of excellence and support our commitment to patients and families.

“Since we recently earned our Magnet redesignation and were named the best employer by the Tennessee Nurses Association, we feel we have a great opportunity to draw nurses here,” Dubree said.

Since last July, Nursing Administration and Human Resources have been tracking an uptick in the number of nurse openings. With the opening of new clinics and departments, the need has continued to grow. Additionally, there is also high demand for experienced bachelor’s-prepared nurses among the several competing hospital systems in town.

Under the Nurse Referral Bonus Program, Vanderbilt will pay $2,500 to any employee who successfully refers a BSN nurse with at least one year of prior experience for a full-time (.75 FTE) nursing position. The referring employee will receive $1,250 once the nurse has been employed 90 days and another $1,250 once the nurse has worked at Vanderbilt for one year.

The referral program will run from Feb. 1 until April 30.

Human Resources will leverage internal systems and technology to ensure that all referred nurse candidates will be contacted quickly. The candidate simply has to include the name of their referral source on the application.

Research shows that in-house referral programs net a higher caliber of employees than typical nurse recruitment strategies. Simply, an employee tends to only refer someone who they would want to work with.

“We have great people working throughout Vanderbilt, and they, more than any other group, can connect us with other great professionals to join our community,” Dubree said. “The wonderful part of programs like ours is that any Vanderbilt employee can earn this bonus. A Vanderbilt groundskeeper, for instance, could refer their nurse neighbor down the street. A staff member in the College of Arts and Science could refer their nurse friend, etc.”

The program isn’t just about finding nurses locally. A relocation bonus is the second part of the equation.

“The reality is that we need to recruit nurses from across the country, not just in Tennessee or even throughout the South. It’s just part of the dynamics in health care delivery today, especially at an organization like ours that is continually evolving and growing,” Dubree said.

The relocation stipend provides $3,000 to $5,000 in relocation expenses for nurses. It is available to successful candidates who live at least 100 miles from Vanderbilt. Travel costs and lodging for the interview process are also paid for. The stipend will be an ongoing opportunity for qualified nurses with no end date yet determined.

For more information on the Nurse Referral Bonus and Relocation Program, go to the Human Resources website. Anyone interested in applying for a position can visit Work At Vanderbilt.