JOHNSON CO. — There's a desperate need for nurses.
It doesn't matter the hospital system, all are hiring, and keeping current staff is critical.
One suburban hospital is seeking an edge in the competitive marketplace for nurses who strike a deal to work at Johnson Memorial Hospital.
The hospital created an annual Bowl-A-Thon to raise money to help nurses with an associate's degree get their bachelor's degree.
"Going from an associate's to your bachelor's can cost you from 12- to $15,000 or even more. So any little bit helps. Having this available encouraged me to go back," Brent Shepherd, an RN in cardiology, said. "Once I got it, I want more people to have it."
Compared to four years ago, 80% of the nurses at the hospital have a bachelor's.
"Studies show without a doubt that the higher-level skill a nurse has ... the less medical errors, the better care that's received and better quality scores," Dr. Dave Dunkle, Johnson Memorial Health's president and CEO, said.
JMH, like its counterparts, is looking for ways to keep their nurses and hire more. The homegrown scholarship program funded through its bowling event is one way to address that critical need.
Desiree Shadley was a mom before becoming a nurse. She was surprised to learn that the staff held this type of fundraiser to help nurses finish their four-year degree.
"It's encouraging us to go back. I want to be part of it. I want to be part of helping others, not just receiving but giving," Shadley said.
Shadley received assistance and earned her Bachelors.
COVID-19 has overwhelmed nursing staffs across the state and country and increased the need for more healthcare workers.
There is tuition assistance for people interested in seeking a nursing career by calling 1-866-591-5018.
Johnson Memorial Health helps its existing workforce with grants. This year's event raised $13,000, which is the most to date.
A total of $43,000 has been raised since the fundraiser being in 2018.