Mid-South hospitals hoping to hire recent grads as staffing shortage continues

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As healthcare systems continue to deal with staffing shortages, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is adding 109 new nursing residents to its facilities.

Memphis area hospitals are also planning on hiring medical students who are about to graduate.

“We really have to get each other’s backs now,” said UTHSC student Robert Fredrick.

Fredrick decided to go into the medical field to help people. He chose to focus on becoming an ear, nose, and throat doctor at UTHSC, but his focus shifted when the pandemic started.

Fredrick helped with COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and assisting other medical workers.

“Strengthened everyone’s desire to go help, and the school has responded by creating more avenues for us to help,” said Fredrick.

Fredrick will graduate in May, so he’s busy applying for jobs in and out of state. He’s looking during a time when hospitals are desperate for workers.

“They are exhausted. They are tired. They have worked very hard and worked very diligently,” said Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive Nikki Polis.

Polis said the hospital needs more nurses, respiratory therapists, ER techs, and more.

She is hoping students will help fill these gaps.

“We invest in our new graduates. We start very far back, so we build a pipeline,” said Polis.

The hospital is also offering bonuses and incentives for employees who plan on committing for two years. It’s an effort to add more staff and give patients the best care possible.

It’s also a chance for students like Fredrick to get jobs and make a difference.

“It just highlights more why I’m proud to be a healthcare worker,” said Fredrick. “It will be nice to actually be a part of the actual workforce as a part of the learning force at that point.”