BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The nation is facing a shortage of nurses with a need of nearly one million by the year 2022. Locally a Bakersfield hospital see a similar problem.
Thursday afternoon Adventist Health in Downtown Bakersfield, celebrated about two dozen new nurses finishing their training. But hospital staff said, even with these new nurses they still have more job openings.
Pam Thompson is the talent advisor for Adventist Health. She said, "We do have a shortage of acute care nurses."
Thompson said, the hospital is doing two things to recruit more nurses to Kern County. One is to offer up to $8,000 in signing bonuses and up to $5,000 in moving fees and two months of housing payments to highly skilled nurses, the other is offer residency training courses to better train newly graduated nurses.
Thompson said, "It's a way of them, of us investing in them and then they invest in us."
Thompson said Adventist Health recruits nurses from across California, the U.S., and even internationally in the Philippines and India.
Thursday Adventist Health graduated about two dozen nurses from their new grad residency class. At least four of those nurses are from the Bay Area. They told 23ABC News they found better openings in Bakersfield than their classmates in Norcal.
Recent nurse graduate, Carlos Pereira said, "We had 35 in our class, and the majority of them don't have jobs yet. They're still looking for jobs in San Francisco Bay. So I'm telling them certainly guys check out Bakersfield, check out Adventist Health. It's a great program and it's not that far away from home."
The residency program requires the nurses to stay for at least two years. Thompson hopes, Bakersfield's low cost of living will keep those nurses here to fill their experienced nursing holes.
Mark Nguyen also is a recent nurse graduate. He said, "We're hoping to call this place home. We love the community. The community is very similar to where I grew up, the people have all been real awesome. There's just no traffic which is probably one of the perks that we've noticed."
23ABC News also talked with a spokeswoman for Dignity Health who said, they offer a similar residency program, but don't offer bonuses to the more experienced nurses as Adventist Health.