Hope Creek Care Center in East Moline is experiencing a shortage of nurses like many healthcare facilities across the nation. Their answer is to raise the starting wages for nurses to try to attract new hires.

“Now more than ever in the United states history we have many more people over the age of 65,” said interim Executive Director Cassie Baker. “So, what you need to do, as running a company, is to make sure we market ourselves so we can bring those nurses here so we can have that quality of care.”

The agreement was recommended by the Hope Creek Board of Directors on Monday, and then approved at Rock Island County Board on Tuesday after a presentation from county administrator Dave Ross. 

Local 4 spoke to county board member Drue Mielke who says there is overwhelming support for this on the board. He says it’s good for Hope Creek, it’s good for the brand new agreement with the Iowa City VA, and it’s good for the county as a whole with some job creation and increased revenue.

As far as Hope Creek, Baker says they are currently hiring for 30 positions. That’s 30 nursing slots that the current staff is trying to fill. 

They want to hire the best care for their residents, and that comes with experience. 

“We want to attract those who are interested in nursing,” said Director of Nursing Cindy Mathew. “And to do that it will be experienced nurses.” 

“But it’s hard for us to bring in a nurse that’s worked maybe 10-20 years into Hope Creek because they have to start at the bottom line,” said Baker.  “So we need to increase that bottom line.”

Not only that, but it will be more cost efficient in the long run. Hope Creek’s revenue’s are currently down, and Baker says a lot of the expenses they have incurred coming from a hiring agency they’ve been using to help fill the staff slots. 

“It’s just not cost efficient for us,” said Baker, reflecting on using the agency. “We were estimating around the holiday months between 75-90,000 dollars to spend on agency.”

Plus, agency nurses don’t have the same consistent care that permanent hires often do. Consistency, Baker and Mathew agree, is key in the environment Hope Creek is trying to be.

“They get to know their habits, their behaviors, the way they like their tea made,” said Baker, who has been a nurse herself. “All those things about the quality of care you give for nursing, all of that encompasses a quality nurse.”

“Agency is wonderful, but we would like to have our permanent staff all the time,” said Mathew.

Overall, they just want to make sure the quality of care is kept up for the people of Rock Island County.

“I went into nursing to help others and provide care for those that are less fortunate or or can’t help themselves,” said Mathew. “That’s my mission.”