Officials at D.C. General Hospital are unable to document that they hired a single registered nurse as a result of seven out-of-town recruiting trips and the expenditure of more than $60.000 on recruiting in a 12-month period, according to a management consultant firm's report on nursing staff problems at the hospital.
"The (recruiting) teams reported enthusiastic reception at the various nursing schools and conferences visted," according to the report prepared by Shotwell - Anderson. Inc. "There is no documentation and only surmise as to whether in fact any single nurse was hired at D.C. General Hospital as a result of such ... trips."
The report goes on to say that the recruiters used a brochure, prepared by the city's Department of Human Resouces, that is "dated. inaccurate and, in certain cases, grossly misleading to nurse candidates. As an example, the opportunities for continuing education are cited, opportunities which only exist at nurse expense."
Hospital director Robert Johnson said yesterday that the hospital has hired nurses as a result of the recruiting trips. but "we have to tie in the effectiveness of the recruitment efforts" to show how new hires were attracted to the hospital.
One of the most persistant problems at the trouble plagued hospital, which is the city's only acute care hospital serving the poor, has been the high attrition rate among the nures and the difficulty in attracting new nurses to the hospital.
The authors of the report have recommended that both problems could be solved by:
Paying bonuses of up to $150 to nurses at the hospital who recruit new hires.
Placing greater emphasis on research to determine where newspaper and magazinc advertisements should be placed and on determining what recruitment trips will pay off in finding new staff.
Raising starting salaries at the hospital, which in some instances are more than $1,000 below those of other hospitals in the area. After the first two years D.C. General salaries are competitive, according to the report.
Establishing an office of nurse ombudsman at the hospital to aid in the improvement of morale and the retention of staff.
Reorganizing the nursing service to give nurses a greater say in patient care and their own work patterns and shedules:
Hiring part - timers to fill some of the less desirable schedules.
Johnson said he thinks "there's a lot of good recommendations in" the report. "We're in the process of studying the report to find those things that we can implement in the short run and those we can implement in the long run."
According to the consultants, all their recommendations could be put into effect for $240,000 over two years. That represents about 1 per cent of the money being spent on nursing salaries.
Johnson said that a nurses committee has also been asked to study the report and bring back recommendations on its implementation.