In an effort to attract more staff in “several key areas,” Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is introducing a new program to recruit highly specialized health care workers.
The strain on the local health-care systems has grown across the past two years, particularly in terms of staff shortages. In January 2021, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) sounded the alarm over the exhaustion and difficult work environment created by the pandemic; in August of this year, KHSC had to close sections of hospitals due to nurse shortages; and just last month, the Paramedics Unions called for new hires at KHSC sites to reduce ambulance offload delays, among other things. Also in November, an overview of hospital operations by Ontario Health pointed to staff shortages, a lack of beds, and deferred care during the pandemic leading to increased wait times for patients, none of which Kingston hospitals have been spared from.
Now, the local health-care organization that oversees operations of Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Hotel Dieu Hospital, among others, has plans to address those ongoing staff shortages.
According to a release from the organization, beginning Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, KHSC will offer financial incentives to attract Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Medical Laboratory Technologists to work in their Emergency Department, Intensive Care Units (ICU), Cardiac Science Unit, Internal Medicine units, Laboratories, as well as Medical and Critical Care Resource Pools.
“Even though we have hired more than 1,000 staff already this year, like other hospitals across the country, we continue to wrestle with severe staffing shortages,” said Jason Hann, Executive Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer. “This new incentive program is our latest effort to attract healthcare workers to KHSC to ensure we can continue to offer highly specialized care to patients from across Southeastern Ontario.”
KHSC said that the recruitment incentives include:
- Recruitment Sign-on Bonus: A one-time signing bonus of $10,000 for new hires in designated areas of need or difficult-to-recruit positions. Full-time recruits will receive the full bonus, while part-time recruits will receive half.
- Referral Bonus: A $3,000 bonus for current KHSC staff and physicians who help KHSC fill permanent full-time and permanent part-time RN, RPN and Medical Laboratory Technologist positions
- Relocation Assistance: Available in addition to the Sign-on Bonus for RN and RPN positions (as well as difficult-to-recruit positions). This assistance will be available to candidates who live more than 200 kilometres away from Kingston. Assistance up to a maximum of $15,000 can be approved.
“We have an incredible team at KHSC and we are working hard to continue building a strong workforce,” Hann stated. “We are encouraging everyone, including our staff, to help promote and participate in these incentive programs so that we can fill these key positions within our organization.”
The health care agency said that recruitment incentives will be in effect between January 1 and March 31, 2023. Full details about the programs — including how to participate are available at Careers at KHSC.