From classroom to bedside: Nurse staffing struggle in Omaha and across country

Posted at 8:47 AM, Aug 01, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "There's nursing jobs everywhere. That's part of like the appeal, is like I can go anywhere I want now with this," said Evan Williams, a nursing student at UNMC.

Williams is just months away from graduating with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

"There is no other time in nursing right now to do what you want to do, than it is right now," Williams said.

Through his time in clinicals, he has seen and experienced the efforts to recruit new nurses.

"The nurses that you work with you know, we spend 24 hours a week with them, for 7 weeks and you know they get to know us and they get close with us and they are like we like working with you, you should come work here after you graduate," Williams said.

With a quick search of Registered Nursing jobs in Omaha, 3 News Now reporter Molly Hudson found the job postings to be endless in the Omaha area.

"I think we have the regular recruitment that other people have, it's like you post your positions, but I would say the highest recruitment techniques is our own people," said Pamela Johnson-Carlson, chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital and Medical Center.

Children's Hospital and Medical Center is hiring but the number of job openings has gone down since January. Plus, the hospital gets support from travel nurses.

"They are really our supplement, it's like while you are waiting to fill your positions or when we know the influx of our high census, they help us," Johnson-Carlson said.

Scheduling of travel nursing can be attractive. Children's is adapting schedules, meaning some positions will have the option to work three months and one month off, much like what you see with travel nursing.

"But you don't need to leave your family here in Nebraska to do that," Johnson-Carlson said. "We are all learning from each other as to what flexibility we should have out there."

For Williams, as his search for his one yes continues, he is excited to be a part of the future of nursing.

"If you want to be a part of that, and like have a direct access to change on health care and on people's lives, this is the place to be right now," Williams said.

While looking at job postings, 3 News Now reporter Molly Hudson saw jobs offering bonuses ranging from several thousand dollars to $20,000.

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