Augusta Health, already the largest employer in the central Shenandoah Valley, is currently hiring.
The hospital in Fishersville hosted a recruiting fair for registered nurses Wednesday. Augusta Health says it's looking to hire more than two dozen registered nurses with experience in a variety of specialties. They hope to get them on the job almost immediately, so much of Wednesday was devoted to interviewing candidates and giving them tours of the hospital.
The recruiting fair drew a roomful of registered nurses to Augusta Health.
"We have a current need for at least 25 to 30 openings. Down the road that may be expanding, but currently, right now, that is our focus," said John Wangler of Augusta Health Human Resources Department.
"Our first initiative was to get our own employees involved, asking them to invite nurses in the community," said Donna Mikolay, a nursing recruiter for Augusta Health.
The hiring is partly due to expansion in services and facilities, including the cardiovascular center that opens in just a few weeks.
Augusta Health also says some of its veteran nurses are ready to slow down.
"We're blessed with a lot of seasoned, professional nurses. And because they're starting to get to that point in their life where they're looking at part-time or possibly retirement, we need to come in and backfill a lot of those needs on a full-time basis," said Wangler.
This fair is seeking registered nurses with at least a year of experience. Augusta Health also has something of a pipeline of nursing grads from numerous colleges in the valley and central Virginia.
"The challenge with hiring a new grad is that we want to make sure we give them the tools to be successful. One of those things is to complement the staff around them with experience," said Mikolay.
That on-the-job help and experience comes from the roughly 450 nurses already on the hospital's payroll.
There are also openings for mental health and patient-care assistants, and Augusta Health tends to look for people looking for long-term employment. Of the newly graduated registered nurses it hired two years ago, 96 percent are still on the job.
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