Scroll through the job openings page on the St. Charles Health System’s website and you’ll find hundreds of positions listed.
Director of Human Resources Hillary Forrest said the number of open positions across the health system currently totals more than 600.
“Certainly the highest number of open positions we’ve ever had,” Forrest said. “We’re also experiencing a sharp decline in the number of applicants that are applying for open positions.”
Forrest said the openings stretch across departments, from doctors to MRI technologists to food service workers.
But mostly they need more nurses. One-third of the open positions are for RN jobs.
“Hiring health care professionals is huge challenge nationwide,” Joe Sluka, CEO of St. Charles, said in a statement. “At St. Charles we have more than 600 open positions right now and are struggling, like many employers, to fill these critical roles.”
“There’s a huge need for health care workers obviously in the midst of the pandemic,” Forrest said. “There’s a supply and demand issue out there in the labor market in general.”
Forrest said the need for more workers has been fairly steady throughout the pandemic, but it’s ramped up in the last 90 days.
The health system believes generous unemployment benefits, lack of child care, housing costs and some people choosing to retire early during the pandemic are all factors.
“Their rental costs have gone up or there’s opportunity to sell their home and relocate to another area,” Forrest said.
Forrest said it’s not affecting patient care because the health system has brought in traveling health care workers to fill the need. But they want people to fill the roles permanently.
“Every single manager feels it within their unit,” Forrest said. “It does bring some stress to our current workforce that are picking up extra shifts.”
Some tactics the hospital is trying to attract talent include sending more than 30,000 postcards to registered nurses with information about open positions. They’re also allowing some jobs to be performed remotely, if the work allows for it.
The hospital is also now allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to apply for positions they qualify for. Previously, the hospital’s age requirement was 18.