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International Nursing Program: Bringing Experienced RN's to Baxter Regional

  • Category: Blog, News, Pulse
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  • Written By: Deborah Stanuch
International Nursing Program: Bringing Experienced RN's to Baxter Regional

Hospitals across the country, including Baxter Regional, are challenged by a shortage of experienced nurses, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. To fill the nursing shortage, hospitals have been relying on “traveling nurses,” a temporary and expensive solution. As the demand for experienced nurses increases, hospitals are looking for creative solutions to their staffing shortages.

Kim Beavers, Nurse Recruiter at Baxter Regional, said the hospital will be participating in an international nursing program that brings experienced registered nurses to the United States from abroad. The program, which is being used with success at hospitals across the country, uses a third party recruiting company to interview and carefully vet all candidates, their credentials, background and experience. The RNs have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the US, have passed background checks, their employment history has been verified, each has been interviewed by a US visa representative and holds a green card.

Shannon Nachtigal, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Baxter Regional Vice President/Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, said the nurses have a minimum five years acute care experience, are seasoned, competent and ready to work at the bedside. “It’s a two way interview,” said Nachtigal. “We have to feel comfortable and they have to feel comfortable, too. I am not looking at a short term fix; I am looking at these nurses wanting to stay at Baxter Regional, and I’m pretty confident they will want to stay.” The nurses, who sign a 2 1/2 year contract to work at Baxter Regional, have researched our hospital and community, too, said both Nachtigal and Beavers. They are impressed with the hospital’s Magnet status, our schools and everything the community has to offer. The first of thirteen nurses coming to the hospital through the program arrived in June, with most expected by the end of fall, according to Beavers. They are from the Philippine Islands, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates with some bringing their families, who also must pass background checks, hold visas and green cards.

One of the first nurses to come to Baxter Regional is Jay Ortega who holds a BSN from Notre Dame University in Cotobato City, Philippines. A nurse since 2011, he said, “It’s amazing to be assigned to Baxter Regional, a Magnet Hospital. It’s a privilege and honor for me to be able to apply my college education and nursing experience at a Magnet hospital.” A bachelor, Ortega is impressed with Mountain Home. “For a small community Mountain Home has a lot to offer.”

“I’ve been a nurse for over 33 years, and over my career, I’ve worked with nurses from the Philippines, Vietnam and other Asian cultures,” said Nachtigal. “I have always been impressed by their work ethic. I have found them dependable, conscientious, and hard working with an excellent professional standard. I’m impressed with that culture and the way they take care of patients.”