BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The demand for nurses in Kern County is growing. Adventist Health currently has about 900 nurses in their downtown medical center. But after recent expansion throughout their Kern County system, their human resource department said they'll need more in the first couple months of 2019.
Brandon Bennett is in the final weeks of his residency at Adventist Health, which he needs to finish before he can be a nurse without direct supervision.
After he completes his residency he said, "My plan is to keep working here, yeah. I'm here for as long as I can see."
Nursing to Bennett is more than a career, he said it's a life calling.
"People say that I'm crazy sometimes when I say it, but when I come to work it's an opportunity for me to recharge my batteries," said Bennett.
Nurses like Bennett are in high demand. Adventist Health's talent advisor, Pam Thompson, said within the next couple months Adventist Health will be looking to hire another 50 nurses to keep up with their growing demand.
"We keep opening more and more clinics," said Thompson. "AHPN, Adventist Health Clinics, over quite a few years. We're expanding big time."
That expansion means nurses are in greater need in Bakersfield, and that is music to Bennett's ears.
"It makes you feel wanted and desired in a professional way," said Bennett. "Knowing that I can have a job and tailor it to specific things that I want and how I want to practice medicine."
Thompson said Adventist Health is working with the local colleges to increase the number of new nurses trained in Bakersfield. But right now, they're struggling to find experience.
"We're looking for experienced nurses. Preferably they have bedside care in an acute setting, they do electronic medical records and have a desire to work bedside and to help with the healing process of their patients," said Thompson
To get more qualified candidates Thompson said Adventist Health has broadened their search,even outside the Kern County and California. And they're trying to use more incentives to lure in new hires.
"We also help with the moving expense. Depending on the position bonuses, we have wonderful medical benefits," said Thompson
To find job postings for Adventist Health's openings, Thompson said, "Go to Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, and if you happen to listen to music on Pandora, you'll hear us there."
For those nurses who live in and around Kern County, Thompson said Adventist Health will host a hiring event at the beginning of 2019 to help with their hiring shortage.
"We're going to be hosting a walk-in for all RNs," said Thompson. "And basically what that is is that you will walk in and we will put you with a manager and director to be interviewed on the spot."
But if you think you have the right qualifications now, Thompson said her door is always open to new applicants, "If you're a nurse and you want to come talk to me, walk through the door, I'll talk to you."
Inside the medical center, Bennett said his favorite thing about being a nurse is his workplace environment.
"I like the diversity, especially being the emergency department," said Bennett. "There's always something new that walks through the door. You never really know what's coming around. And for my personality that fits perfectly."
While Bennett said it was a long road for him to get the proper training and to where he is, he'd remind other future nurses that the ends justify the means.
"You just got to keep with it," said Bennett. "The reward at the end is definitely worth the trials and any tribulations that you might need to pass through to make it there."