CHI Health introduces new travel program for healthcare workers

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) — Healthcare facilities across the country have struggled to recruit staff throughout the pandemic.

CHI Health is tackling this problem with a new program. It’s called the Midwest Internal Travel Program and does away with the travel agency while keeping healthcare workers in the CHI system.

CHI said last February it spent more than $8 million on traveling nurses. Before the pandemic, they were spending $1.8 million.

This is due to staff shortages seen across the country and hospitals relying on travel agencies to fill the gaps.

CHI said it had the program on a smaller scale for years and is now expanding it to nurses and other healthcare workers.

Travelers are full-time employees of CHI and receive benefits and a travel allowance.

“It gave me the opportunity to do things that you couldn’t do in a normal position, even while traveling, in addition to staying with the organization,” said Kate Syzmanski, Traveling RN. “So I have my years behind me, I have my experience.”

The program allows travelers to work at CHI’s 28 hospitals for six to 12 weeks.

CHI said it was a win-win because the program provides opportunities for travelers, while keeping them in the system and saving the hospital money.

CHI said it hopes to have a pool of 100 field workers for nursing, pharmacy, technicians and more. They accept applications from those already employed by CHI as well as outside the system.

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Ryan H. Bowman