ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- The staff at Providence St. Joseph Hospital is hoping a hiring event held on Wednesday will help them find much-needed nurses as many hospitals across the nation continue to face shortages.
The COVID-19 pandemic had health care workers across the nation working extended hours, often without breaks, and for many, the weight was too heavy to carry.
Soudi Bogert, a nursing manager at Providence St. Joseph, said the hospital is still in need of those nurses.
"Across the country, it's been very challenging to recruit nurses and to address the staffing shortage that's being felt all around," Bogert said.
A 2021 study by UC San Francisco estimated a shortage of more than 40,000 registered nurses in California, a nearly 14% gap, was projected to last until 2026.
On Wednesday, Providence St. Joseph Hospital worked to recruit nurses with their hiring event, but the benefits went both ways.
CSULB nursing school graduate Abbey Chong said the event helped her prepare for interviews as she moved through the application process and it helped her see which hospital was the right fit.
"Most importantly is to try to like get exposed to the culture ... is it welcoming or is it stressful?" Chong said.
The event also gave staff the opportunity to inform potential applicants of their Transition in Practice, or TIPS, residency program, which helps guide new nurses.
Just having completed TIPS this past week, Luke Ruggiero said it gave him the opportunity to catch up on hands-on experience missed due to the pandemic.
"Really, we got kicked out of a lot of hospitals and we didn't get a lot of hands-on experience, so having a program to walk us through it, it felt like I was back in school again for a couple weeks and it felt like I had someone watching over me," Ruggiero said.
Bogert said the hospital was recruiting for its TIPS program, aiming for a January start.