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September 19, 2005
Swooping Down on Gulf Coast Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers displaced by Hurricane Katrina don't have to worry about finding jobs in other parts of the country. Thanks to the shortage of medical professionals, they are being courted by hospitals, doctor offices, and clinics nationwide, according to USA Today.

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Nurses, therapists, doctors, and other healthcare workers are being urged to consider relocating--permanently or temporarily--in classied ads that have been appearing in Gulf Coast newspapers and on recruiting websites, the newspaper reports. Offers of signing bonuses, relocation assistance, and other perks are common.

"Recruiters are swooping down on Louisiana," says William Schumacher, who runs a Louisiana-based firm that provides medical staff to hospital emergency departments and is trying to keep doctors in the state. "My fear is that we are going to wake up 3 months from now when all the volunteers are gone, and there won't be enough staff."

Out-of-state recruiters tell USA Today that they are helping, not poaching, since the workers need jobs.

"Even if we didn't exist, these nurses and health professionals would go somewhere else because they have to," says Alan Braynin, CEO of Access Nurses, a San Diego-based staffing agency.

Temporary nursing positions, which generally last 13 weeks, are ideal for displaced workers, Braynin says, adding: "We can make the process simple for them to leave, but also to come back."

San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, a 59-bed hospital in rural Colorado, is advertising for nurses, physical therapists and radiation technicians for either permanent or temporary positions.

"This is our way we can help those people who have had so much devastation in their lives," says hospital spokesman Leonard Snow. "If they want to stay one month or four months, we'd be happy to accommodate them. If they like it here, we'll help them stay."

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