New UTMB program focused on hiring SON graduates

May 17, 2016, 10:06 AM by Stephen Hadley

SON NursesTo meet the growing demand for skilled and well-trained nurses in a highly competitive job market, UTMB Health launched an initiative this year to hire new nursing graduates from UTMB’s School of Nursing.

Craig Vollmers, director of Healthcare Systems Staffing for UTMB, said SON graduates are a great fit for UTMB because they are among the best-trained nurses in the region entering the workforce each year.

“Current demand, demographic shifts and a competitive local marketplace have stretched the regional nursing population, making it more difficult to hire experienced nurses,” Vollmers said.

“New graduate nurses are needed to help offset this demand as well as to contribute new skills and ideas for next-generation solutions to traditional issues. UTMB’s SON provides a readily available resource of highly trained, quality health care professionals who are already familiar with and supportive of our university values.”

Vollmers said the initiative would place 70 new SON graduates into positions throughout UTMB in its first year, including in Adult Patient Services, the Emergency Department, Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Hospital Galveston, and the Women’s and Children’s Department.

To find and recruit potential nursing applicants from the nursing school, Vollmers said UTMB conducts several informational, coaching and employment sessions with each senior class and participates in the SON employer open house for local health care entities in hiring new graduates.

“We hold our own ‘open house’ with hiring manager presentations to showcase the various opportunities at UTMB, and finally we conduct a hiring event where the graduating seniors are paired up with departments of interest to interview and discuss employment opportunities,” he said. “From that final session, interested students are matched up with hiring departments for potential career offers.”

One of those graduates is Ashley Ross, who accepted a position as a nurse in the Emergency Department on the Galveston Campus. Ross said her experience as a student helped her make the decision to start her career at UTMB.

“I have a deep respect for the service [the Emergency Department] provides Galveston County,” Ross said. “UTMB provides support, compassion, and kindness to its patients, nurses and students. I feel like I joined a family during nursing school, and I’m looking forward to making a permanent place with that family as I move forward with my career.”

Dorothy Pearrow, assistant dean for Admissions and Student Affairs in the School of Nursing, said UTMB’s hiring initiative represents a great opportunity both for SON and the new graduates.

“We believe the School of Nursing provides the best education in the area and that our students are very well prepared,” she said. “We’re very excited about this program and increasing the number of our graduates working here going forward.”

Pearrow said that UTMB represents an attractive career option for new nursing graduates who are being pursued aggressively by other hospitals in the region. “Our students who attend clinical rotations at UTMB Health end up loving it here,” Pearrow said. “UTMB Health stresses continual, life-long learning and provides a unique growth opportunity for our graduates; we are proud of what our alumni have accomplished. Many of these new graduates will return to UTMB School of Nursing for graduate degrees as they gain experience and prepare to be the nursing leaders of tomorrow.” 

Kelsey Osgood, a SON graduate who has accepted a position as a pediatrics nurse with UTMB, said her clinicals experience at John Sealy Hospital helped to deepen her resolve to work in Galveston once she graduated.

“I observed the value of teamwork being carried out by the employees and felt comfortable in the atmosphere created by staff members,” Osgood said. “I’m looking forward to becoming a pediatrics nurse at UTMB because it is a wonderful opportunity for growth and challenge. I’m excited for the chance to serve a diverse population of patients and to assist them in achieving optimal wellness.”

Pamela G. Watson, dean of UTMB’s School of Nursing, expressed her enthusiasm for the new program. “My spirits soar at the notion of more new UTMB SON graduates being  hired by UTMB Health,” Watson said. “It is a fabulous opportunity for our  graduates and the Health system. UTMB SON graduates are the best! UTMB patients and families will greatly benefit from the care  to be provided by UTMB SON graduates!”