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Driscoll Children's Hospital holds hiring event, competes for nurses as hospital system expands

The hospital is seeking experienced registered nurses to help fill about 34 positions as much of the country deals with a nursing shortage.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic impacted employment in a number of fields across the board, but especially in hospitals where a nursing shortage continues to be felt across the country. 

In the Coastal Bend, the Regional Economic Development Corporation gave a presentation to the county commissioners Wednesday. The presentation showed employment in the education and health services sector is down 500 workers in Nueces County from where we were pre-pandemic.

3NEWS spoke with officials from Driscoll Children's Hospital about how they are competing to find good qualified nurses for their hospital system.

The cozy dining area at Katz 21 Steak & Spirits might look like a set up for speed dating, however, it was the latest hiring event for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"Essentially we would love to talk to applicants and see what they are interested in," said Julie Pena, Chief nursing officer at DCH. 

The hospital is seeking experienced registered nurses to help fill about 34 positions. While much of the country deals with a nursing shortage, Pina said the need at Driscoll is a result of expansion. 

"We've got a new hospital in the valley, we've got a new venture on the south side of town with our new NICU and we need more nurses," Pena said.

RELATED: Driscoll Children's Hospital and CHRISTUS Spohn collaborate for new NICU

Andrae Johnson also spent time interviewing candidates on behalf of DCH. His mission is to find candidates to help in the operating room with surgical services.

"Nursing is one of those hot commodities right now that everybody is looking for and we're looking for," Johnson said. 

He adds that some people were hired on the spot -- as Driscoll offers incentives for new hires to stay competitive.

"We have those new challenges we are kind of battling, so events like this allow us to look at other options other than 'put this on a website and see who applies,'" Johnson said.

Hiring events also help build relationships early with nursing students who are set to enter the workforce, and remain local.

"Getting in front of those students before they get out there and let them know why Driscoll is one of those places you want to be at," Johnson said.

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