County hospitals strive to find and keep nurses

Recruiting and keeping qualified nurses on staff is a challenging endeavor for hospitals today.

"We do have some positions open," said Beverly Mracek, associate administrator for patient care services at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

"If someone leaves, it takes two to three months to replace them and therein lies our problem," she said.

"But I think our turnover rate (among nurses) is on a par with other hospitals."

Kingman Regional Medical Center searches for nurses through the Internet, professional journals and a new statewide newsletter, she said.

Most replies come through the professional journals.

However, the presence of Mohave Community College and its nursing program is a key resource for KRMC, Mracek said.

KRMC is on a par with other hospitals in salary for nurses, she said.

Mracek said KRMC has about 155 registered nurses.

Add in licensed practical nurses and aides and the total nursing staff comes to about 250 personnel, she said.

"We actively recruit nursing personnel," said Ruth Padilla, director of marketing at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City.

"But we keep our marketing strategies to ourselves because finding nurses is a highly competitive situation."

Padilla said WARMC has recruited nurses from Minnesota and the Midwest.

The hospital is "very competitive" in salaries for nurses, she added.

Western Arizona Regional Medical Center has about 210 total nursing personnel, which amounts to nearly half of its employee base of 480 people, Padilla said.

"Our turnover rate is not very high," Padilla said.

"We have some nurses here for a long period, nurses who have families here."

Mracek and Padilla both said the most common reason for losing a nurse is that she relocates with her husband after he finds a better job.

Little high-tech industry in the area contributes to such moves, Padilla said.

Havasu Regional Medical Center also was contacted.

However, Willa Dixon, chief nursing officer, said she would only respond in writing to questions about that hospital's nurses.