SHERIDAN — Depending on where a person comes from, Sheridan can be viewed as a larger city or a smaller, more rural location to live. Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s recruiter, Amber Guinotte, faces the challenge of finding people to fit the unique culture of both the city and the hospital.
With the medical arts center construction nearing its completion date, the hospital is looking to recruit additional specialized positions and registered nurses.
“There have been a lot of changes and there’s projected to be more in the future in terms of primary care and medicine in particular for Sheridan,” hospital CEO Mike McCafferty told board members in a June meeting. “A lot of things are going to be required of us to really bolster our resources and to be sure we have the right amount of people to take care of our patients in the community and take care of patients in the hospital.”
The hospital aims to pull from its closest resource — Sheridan College’s nursing program. The entirety of the Northern Wyoming Community College District’s nursing program boasts a 92 percent job placement rate, and Sheridan College nursing instructor Tobie Alsup said about 50 percent of the students going through the program already have Sheridan ties or are established in the community and want to remain in the community.
“Usually what I love about community college is we serve a lot of people that are rooted in the community,” Alsup said.
As a faculty member, she appreciates the hospital’s efforts to recruit, hire and retain students from the nursing program.
“It’s really nice to be able to walk those halls and see our graduates,” Alsup said of SMH.
The hospital requires registered nurses to have at least one year of experience specifically in a hospital setting before starting as a full-time certified RN.
To help accommodate their growing need for RNs and to help collaborate with the college, the hospital offers a residency program. Any recent graduate or nurse with less than six months of experience may apply for the program. The hospital accepts six new residents each year, and they receive cross training with different departments while being paid and receiving regular nurse benefits.
“It’s a great opportunity to really get that hands-on experience,” Guinotte said.
The current and most common areas of need for RNs are medical surgery and intensive care units within the hospital. While SMH utilizes traveling nurses, it prefers hiring those willing to invest in the hospital’s culture and become a solid member of the community.
“What I attempt to do is get our message across and talking about our culture of kindness at the hospital,” Guinotte said. “(I also promote) our complete benefits package and opportunities for learning and development, cross-training.”
The closest competition for experienced medical professionals are the Billings Clinic, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. Even with the close competition, SMH allows itself to carefully choose the right fit for Sheridan.
“Most places don’t get to pick and choose who they want,” Dr. Ian Hunter said during the board meeting. “We have the opportunity to evaluate more than many other locations. I think that we’re a special group and we’ll continue to grow and provide excellent health care for the community.”
The allure of Sheridan as a great place to live helps with recruitment efforts.
“We do have a lot to offer as a community and as an employer,” Guinotte said. “It’s really finding the people that are open to listening to what we have to offer.”
Guinotte and other medical professionals within the SMH system preach a culture of kindness, which they hope to continue with the business’s expansion.