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Hospitals dealing with nurse shortage

To combat the staffing shortage, Guthrie is offering sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000.

SAYRE, Pa. — "They leave because they're tired, they're burnt out."

Sarah Allen has seen many friends and colleagues leave the nursing industry since the start of the pandemic. 

She understands why, because it's something she's considered herself.

"Every day. But I show up to work, you know, we're tired, but the rewarding part of it is you get to see patients go home. You get to see patients get better," said Allen.

And that's what keeps her coming back day in and day out to her new job at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. 

Allen was hired three months ago as the hospital deals with the same staffing shortages that are being felt nationwide. 

"Across the country, everyone is competing for the same workforce," said Deb Raupers, Chief Nursing Officer.

Guthrie's Chief Nursing Officer, Deb Raupers, says it's due to a combination of older nurses retiring early, fewer new graduates from nursing school, nurses traveling to COVID hotspots last year for the competitive pay, and others switching jobs within the profession because of the pandemic. 

"Many left maybe the clinical care of bedside and went into other areas because of it. They basically said, you know, I still want to be a nurse, but I can't do this every single day," said Raupers.

And it's been busier at Robert Packer Hospital in recent months, not necessarily because of a rise in COVID patients, but because of a rise in patients overall now that people are resuming their normal activities. 

To combat the staffing shortage, Guthrie is offering sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000, something Sarah Allen says played a role in her decision to come work.

"That was definitely a big incentive for me," said Allen.

Both Allen and Raupers hope rather than scaring future nurses away from the profession, the pandemic will inspire people to pursue their passion for helping others. 

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