Rural hosp nurses -- Staffing question here.

  1. I work in a 325-bed rural hosp (one hour away from three major cities) that is expecting to start performing open-heart surgeries by next summer. They are trying to hire EXPERIENCED cardiac OR RNs, interventional cath lab RNs, and CV recovery RNs but so far are only getting applications from internal nurses (who have no experience.)

    I was discussing this with my manager the other day. I told her I didn't think anyone with experience from the three major cities would apply because we are advertising "competitive wages" (no sign-on bonuses) and who is going to move or drive an hour away to make what they are already making. I also told her that anyone coming to the cath lab (where I work) with 6 yrs of experience better not be making more than me! (This hosp pays by quantity of nursing experience, not quality of experience, i.e. all 2yr RNs make the same amount, all 6 yr RNs make the same amount, etc.)

    My question is -- For rural hosps that started open heart programs, how did you get staffing? Did you use experienced agency nurses until internal staff was comfortable? Did you get experienced nurses from other areas? or Did you send internal nurses out to get training?

    Thanks!
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