Sanford Health’s plan to keep nurses

Local News

BISMARCK — For any health system, losing rookie nurses is expensive, which is why one area hospital is making sure they stay.

“I started my job 15 days later after I passed my boards,” said Taryn Small, RN at Sanford Intensive Care Unit.

At 24 years old, Small is thrilled to land her first job as an RN straight out of college at Sanford Health, a job not without challenges.

“I take care of critical care patients, so on a daily, I have two patients that I solely care for. I do total care for them and make sure they are breathing, eating and can do things on their own,” said Small.

But it’s that pressure and responsibility that many people can’t handle.

“I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon but they really try to keep you here and they give you the benefits that you need and the resources you need,” said Small.

When a nurse leaves Sanford Health, turn-around costs run up to $70,000 and that money is the cost of training.

“Anybody who does not yet have 12 months experience as a nurse when we hire them, we automatically enroll them in the program because we want to ensure their success. So, it’s not whether or not they just came out of college, that’s where most of the people in the program are coming from,” said Patrick Schultz, Sanford health Nursing & Clinical Services VP.

Nurses will have a partnership with mentors, learn organizational and technical skills and personal skills. Schultz said Sanford started the program two months ago, an upgrade of a previous program lasting only six months.

“Nursing is an occupation that is fantastic. From my perspective, it’s the best role that there is out there. But it helps people understand that stress and burden is still high. So, we want to help people be very successful in that first year because that’s such a challenging time,” said Schultz.

As for Small, she wants to be an ICU nurse or even go back to school to be a nurse practitioner. But with the help of Sanford, she said she is on the right path.

Currently, there are 50 nurses in the program.

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