Hospital systems try new strategies to attract health care workers

'This is a good opportunity to really meet our communities where they are'
Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 18:34:21-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Health officials are calling on Gov. Glenn Youngkin to extend an executive order set to expire Monday in order to give healthcare providers more staffing flexibility.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) wants a 30 to 60 day extension on the provisions that relaxed various regulations during the most recent COVID surge.

The request comes at a time when there is a worldwide shortage of health care workers that is prompting much bigger recruitment efforts locally.

Ramar Ghattafs
Ramar Ghattafs

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St. Francis Medical Center was one of seven locations across Central Virginia Saturday where hiring managers interviewed candidates, made job offers and handed out sign-on incentives.

Recruiters at Bon Secours are hoping to find many more candidates like 24-year-old Ramar Ghattafs.

"I’ve had a passion for it so I thought there’s no better time," said Ghattafs, who showed up at St. Francis to learn more about starting a career in nursing.

The bilingual VCU student, who has restaurant experience instead of a medical license, is the kind of person Bon Secours says it wants to reach.

"I’m at that point where I’m like, 'This is what I want to do. I want to be in the hospitals,'" Ghattaf said. "I’m definitely wanting to be in the medical field."

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Bon Secours Chief Nursing Officer Brenda Woodcock said new strategies are needed to attract not only current health care workers, but also future nurses, technicians and specialists by offering education and training opportunities.

"We have an aging workforce in nursing. We have people that are now retiring," Woodcock said. "And so this is a good opportunity to really meet our communities where they are."

Bon Secours Chief Nursing Officer Brenda Woodcock
Bon Secours Chief Nursing Officer Brenda Woodcock

Woodcock said finding candidates with a "servant heart" is important.

"Having that passion for healthcare... that is type of person I want to be working at Bon Secours," Woodcock said. "Somebody that has that passion for what they do."

Woodcock said she believes Ghattaf will likely receive a call back with an offer Monday.

Additionally, HCA Virginia will hold hiring events this month and the VHHA also hosts a recruiting portal on its website for medical professionals.