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Yuma experiencing nurse shortage

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Nurses and healthcare workers carried our community through COVID-19.

But as we approach the three-year anniversary of the pandemic, the need for nurses is on the rise.

Arizona is one of several states facing a nursing shortage and Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is working to solve that problem locally.

YRMC is on the hunt for nurses.

“The nursing shortage has been going on a long time, actually even before covid, but covid really accelerated the need for nurses. So that includes the state of Arizona and that includes Yuma," said Deborah Aders, Chief Nursing Officer.

The hospital currently has 87 opening nursing positions which is about a 12 percent vacancy rate.

“It’s a challenge with Yuma because for many nurses coming into Yuma, it’s either we grow them through educational programs or we actually have to have folks relocate to the Yuma area," said Matthew McElrath, YRMC Chief Human Resources Officer.

YRMC says one thing they did to recruit more nurses is increase salaries to be competitive with big cities.

“Our board approved a 6.2 million dollar salary increase for all of our nurses and that significantly moved up our average nursing rates and enabled us to not only retain nurses we currently have, but also enables us to be more competitive with urban areas like Phoenix Tucson San Diego or other areas where we may draw nurses from," said McElrath.

Currently, the average nurse salary at YRMC is over $100,000 per year.

The hospital also has 135 traveling nurses who they try to recruit to stay in Yuma.

“Nurses I think are very valued here, and we couldn’t do it without them," said Aders.

Article Topic Follows: Local Health
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Samantha Byrd

Samantha Byrd joined the KYMA team as a reporter in February 2022.

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