GREENSBORO, N.C. — Anytime you get a few extra bucks on your paycheck, it's a good day. Now, what if that extra cash was really a couple of hundred dollars, per shift?
In order to stay competitive and fill shifts, Cone Health is paying some employees a hefty bonus.
"The market for registered nurses is very competitive and we have, as the other institutions in our area had, to resort to certain bonus plans and incentive plans," Kenneth Rempher said.
Kenneth Rempher is the chief nurse executive for Cone Health. He said some employees can earn an extra $300 to $400 a shift on top of their regular pay.
"We're having some good success with that," Rempher said.
The extra money comes with picking up additional shifts, a need the pandemic shinned a light on.
"It's a problem across the country, especially in our region," Rempher said. "It also affects more than just nursing. It affects respiratory therapists and other disciplines as well."
Even before the pandemic, the medical field already experienced shortages.
"As there are fewer nurses, the jobs become more competitive," Rempher said. "You find yourself in a position where you have to be really creative in the ways you can attract and retain some of these clinical staff."
That's where the incentives come in. Rempher said it isn't long-term and for the importance of a work-life balance, they limit the amount of overtime that can be picked up.
"It's hard when we constantly ask for staff to pick up additional shifts, but at the same time, we want people to really take the time they need to be with their families, to rejuvenate because we believe if we do that for you, if you take advantage of that time off, you’ll come back to us more prepared," Rempher said. "We know there’s a direct link between those who are well-rested and feel rejuvenated and how they feel about their jobs than those who consistently pick up overtime. So, we have a limit that we never cross when we ask about people to pick up additional shifts, and I think it’s important for us to abide by that."