Broward Health offering new incentives as it seeks to fill about 400 registered nurse vacancies

Broward Health offering nurses pension plan, signing bonuses of up to $20,000 for certain specialties

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Across the state, hospitals are offering new incentives like signing bonuses to try and lure in candidates as a nursing shortage persists.

That’s why Broward Health North held a job fair Monday to fill about 400 registered nurse vacancies, and they are not alone.

Nicole Dellapi, who attended the job fair, is quickly realizing this is an opportune time to be graduating from nursing school.

“Did you anticipate that you would be in this much demand?” Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez asked.

“No, actually I did not,” Dellapi said. “I knew that nurses were in demand but didn’t realize that it was so much that it was even new grads.”

“The pandemic really wreaked havoc on the healthcare industry nationwide,” said Deven Silverman, from Broward Health.

Industry analysts say COVID-era disruptions persist.

RELATED LINK: American Association of Colleges of Nursing on nursing shortage.

The pandemic exacerbated nursing shortages nationwide as some quit, some retired and others left hospitals for lucrative gigs with traveling nurse agencies.

“Making two to three times the rate of pay they were making in their full-time jobs,” Silverman said.

Silverman, Broward Health’s executive director of talent acquisition, explained how they are working to ensure job candidates know about their benefits.

“403b match from first day of employment,” she said.

Broward Health is offering nurses a pension plan and signing bonuses of up to $20,000 for certain specialties.

“Employment here provides eligibly for public student loan forgiveness,” Silverman said.

But as the empty tables at the Broward Health North job fair illustrate, it is still difficult to lure in potential candidates.

And this is not a short-term challenge.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be on average more than 194,000 openings for registered nurses each year over the next decade.

Now add into the equation population growth and aging.

A recent report from the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida found nursing demand is projected to grow by 31 percent through 2035.

“Florida is adding people so quickly that we are outgrowing our professional infrastructure - which includes the doctors and nurses that care for people, especially the elderly,” Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior said in a statement. “Our research shows that we will need a significant additional state investment in order to educate and train the nearly 18,000 physicians Floridians will need to care for them by 2035. This is especially important for those who will need healthcare specialists - like oncologists, dermatologists, orthopedic surgeons.”

But Silverman said they’re not giving up.

“We will have to try something different, pivot -- we are looking into doing this in more of a virtual setting,” she said.

They hope what they’re offering will help attract and retain candidates like Dellapi.

“We want to take care of employees to enable us to continue to do that work for our community,” Silverman said.

Broward Health will have additional job fairs in the works. Information for future job fairs and openings at Broward Health can be found by clicking here.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."