Many nurses have complained about inadequate salaries, lack of recognition with regard to supplemental package benefits, poor management and the always-looming glass ceiling. Not only have many people currently in the profession complained about their jobs, but there are increasing numbers of graduates who have shown no interest in venturing into the nursing profession, University of Michigan Health System officials said.

Given the current situation, UMHS officials launched a campaign in September to hire 100 nurses in 100 days. They successfully hired more than 100 nurses a month before its 100-day goal. The campaign’s success is attributed to extremely generous and competitive benefits, UMHS spokeswoman Kara Gavin said.

UMHS’ recruitment plan has a strong foundation built on improved work conditions, accompanied by increased salaries and competitive benefits, Gavin said.

The process of improvement begins on the patient care unit, Gavin added.

“Our nurses complete an extensive training and assessment program in order to ensure the best care for our patients,” Gavin said.

She said the quality of the nurses was not sacrificed in order for UMHS to meet its 100-day goal. The University will increase technical and clinical training to improve patient care and marketability.

“We are giving our patients the best possible care that we are capable of giving, which ensures a quality-health care environment. As nurses, we will never allow ourselves to become complacent about the quality of the care we deliver,” said a nurse from the UMHS C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital, who requested to remain anonymous.

While recruitment is essential in this competitive market, staff retention is also a critical challenge, Gavin said. Hospital officials said despite the focus on recruitment, they are not overlooking the nurse retention rate.

“We must also pay attention to other aspects of the healthcare delivery system,” Gavin said. “Retention efforts are focused on the value and respect of the nurses with regard to their contribution to the well-being of the community.”

Gavin said one way UMHS is trying to retain its current nurses is through increased communication.

“Expanding on innovative strategies within the system to actively accommodate the needs of the staff is an important goal in increasing retention,” Gavin said.

UMHS has recently teamed with Johnson and Johnson along with other area hospitals and health care institutions to establish a scholarship and grant program to bring more people to become nurses.

“It is important that we continue to focus on improvement to build the foundation of our community, of our nation, on a strong health system,” Gavin said.

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