AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Staffing shortages are hitting multiple industries across the country, and Texas mental healthcare facilities are no different.
Texas Health and Human Services report there are nearly 3,000 vacancies at state hospitals and state-supported living centers across Texas.
“Most employers right now across the country are seeing a lot of people exiting the workforce, there’s a lot fewer people to choose from. And so we’re competing for a lot of the same people, especially when you look at positions like [Registered Nurses,]” Scott Schalchlin with HHSC’s Health & Specialty Care System said this week.
That’s why HHSC is offering tiered signing bonuses based on position: $5,000 for new registered nurses, $3,500 for eligible licensed vocational nurses, and $2,500 for psychiatric nursing assistants.
“We’re everywhere from El Paso to Terrell to Wichita Falls, Vernon, Kerrville, down to Richmond, down to Houston, San Antonio, Austin,” Schalchlin said.
Right now, those vacancies are affecting care, Austin State Hospital Superintendent Dr. Stacey Thompson said.
“It results in, at least for us at the hospital, the fewer people that we have on staff that fewer people we can serve,” Dr. Thompson said.
Providers are hoping the bonus will serve as an attention-grabber, and that the job speaks for itself.
“People don’t always know what we do. And it is very specialized. Psychiatric nursing, you get to build relationships, you get to watch people recover in their journey through mental illness. And it’s very rewarding, very impactful,” Dr. Thompson explained.
To view all open positions and apply, candidates can visit the Health and Specialty Care System jobs page on the HHSC website