Gundersen’s health system is working to address staffing shortages

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, especially those working in healthcare.

In appreciation for their efforts, UW La Crosse this week thanked Gundersen Health System staff with gift baskets prepared by the campus community.

“We work hard, and just knowing that the community thinks of us and appreciates all of our hard work means a lot,” said registered nurse Mollie Murray.

Murray is grateful for the gesture, as it hasn’t been easy being a nurse in the age of COVID.

“The last two years have been tough,” Murray said. “Just short-staffed, a lot of patients here in the hospital who need our help, so you have to adapt, and you have to adapt quickly.”

For Murray, she says there’s no place she’d rather be than working at Gundersen.

However, recruiter Kaija Towle says the hospital has struggled to retain staff.

“A big reason is the constant changes,” Towle explained. “Even when it comes to COVID protocols, we must constantly adjust our standards and procedures to meet these needs.”

Towle says there are a higher number of openings than normal right now, and some positions need more help than others.

“In our dining, housekeeping and laundry areas,” Towle detailed. “We’ve certainly had internal staff stepping up and volunteering during the pandemic to help with those areas.”

To meet those immediate needs, Gundersen will host a pair of on-site job fairs over the next two weeks.

Both fairs will be held at the Gundersen Integrated Center for Education, the first on February 16 and the second on February 24.

Attendees will be able to interview recruiters and qualified candidates for catering, housekeeping and laundry positions will have the chance to receive on-site job offers.

Towle says Gundersen plans to be more active in recruiting during the year.

“We’re definitely tossing around ideas of doing future job fairs,” Towle said. “Even some of the local universities have started to hold more career fairs, so we’ve participated in them.”

The February 16 fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the February 24 fair will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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