DOVER — Expanding on its efforts to recruit and retain nurses and other critical positions amid a workforce shortage, Bayhealth will launch a new program that will repay student loans up to $30,000.The student loan assistance program is offered to qualified positions who offer a three-year commitment to work at Bayhealth. Qualified positions include nursing (licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, respiratory therapy, patient care technician/phlebotomist, diagnostic imaging technician or clinical medical assistants. For applicable positions, the health system is also offering relocation assistance. “This student loan assistance program is another part of our commitment to strengthening the health of our communities. It helps us address two challenges we’re facing as a society: the national nursing shortage and student loan debt,” Bayhealth Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer Shana Ross said in a statement. “At Bayhealth we understand these are tough times for students who are just entering the workforce. With our student loan payoff program, they can focus on their new career – not student loan debt.”Like much of the rest of the country, Delaware’s hospitals and health care systems are facing a workforce shortage that is exacerbated by the latest wave with the COVID-19 omicron variant. The Delaware Department of Labor reports that the health care and social assistance industry had 74,100 workers as of February 2020. That includes registered nurses, personal care aides, nursing assistants, medical secretaries, home health aides, physical therapists, surgeons and more.
[caption id="attachment_217714" align="alignleft" width="300"] Bayhealth, Sussex Campus in Milford will see some of the $103 million in capital improvements planned in the next three years, like $19 million in ned beds and a c-section suite. | DBT PHOTO BT KATIE TABELING[/caption]
By November 2021, health care and social assistance workers had risen to only 71,300, or 2,800 workers less than the pre-pandemic period — though it’s unknown if they left the industry entirely, moved out of Delaware or now work at a facility out of the state.Bayhealth is hiring for roughly 334 open positions in nursing and nursing support, according to its job listing website.This is not the latest incentive program Bayhealth has offered. Some positions are eligible for a $8,000 bonus, and the health care system recently announced a Bahamas vacation raffle combined with full-time benefits for nurses and technical position workers willing to cover part-time weekend shifts.Bayhealth will host a question and answer session on Jan. 18 or Jan. 19 from 6 -8 p.m. at the Bayhealth Kent Campus, Pavilions 1 & 2 at 640 S. State St. in Dover. All visitors must wear a mask. Register by emailing Careers@Bayhealth.org with name, program of study, and the date of the session you plan to attend. VisitBayhealth.org/Join to apply online and view open positions.