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Survey Finds Nurses More Concerned About Workplace Than the Pay

Environment, not pay, attracts nurses to new job opportunities, according to a survey released by AMN Healthcare.

The San Diego-based staffing agency that specializes in placing health care workers surveyed 1,626 nursing students on what job attributes are most important to them.

First was the quality of the medical facility, second was low nurse-to-patient ratios and third was favorable work hours and shifts.

“The first question nurse students ask today is not ‘How much will I be paid?’ or even ‘Where is this job located?’ ” said Marcia Faller, AMN’s chief nursing officer and executive vice president of operations. “Their first priority is finding a quality setting with reasonable patient loads and favorable hours.”

Indeed, pay ranked among survey participants as fourth concern down the list.

Geographic location, supportive physicians, proximity to family, challenging work environments and ability to travel were also important to the student nurses, who were surveyed by mail last summer using a national database.

Eighty-one percent of survey participants said they’ll most likely take a permanent position with a hospital, medical group or other facility upon graduation.

Nine percent would take a travel nurse job, 5 percent would like a per-diem position and another 5 percent marked “other.”

Although pay may not be the top lure for nurses, it hasn’t been completely forgotten.

The AMN survey also found that while 62 percent of participants worry about making mistakes on the job, 45 percent are worried about pay. Half of those surveyed said they expect to make at least $40,000 their first year on the job.

Other top worries for new nurses: dealing with rude/hostile co-workers, burnout, long hours, dealing with death, contracting a disease and sexual harassment.

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Hard-Hat Healing:

Construction on the first of several improvements planned at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus has begun, bringing the 83-year-old hospital one step closer to being up to state seismic standards.

The cost for the hard-hat healing, which will take three years just to get to the actual retrofitting, is $700 million, according to hospital spokeswoman Lisa Ohmstede.

Before retrofitting can begin, a parking structure must be built to free up what is now surface parking for work on the actual hospital.

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony for a 1,350-space structure was held. Once the structure is complete, most likely in mid-2008, work will begin on an adjacent 140,000-square-foot medical office building.

When that building is complete, likely in June 2009, it will house primary and specialist offices, administrative offices, and storefront businesses.

In 2010, the hospital , originally established in 1924 , will be worked on. It will be retrofitted to bring Scripps Memorial up to state seismic standards. The hospital will also receive the addition of 40 new medical/surgical beds, a new operating room and the expansion of some cardiology services.

Scripps Health, the nonprofit health system that runs Scripps Memorial along with four other acute-care hospital campuses in San Diego County, also has plans to spend $360 million solely on a comprehensive cardiovascular institute on the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus.

It will consist of a seven-story, 309,000-square-foot tower with 144 inpatient beds, 30 intensive care unit beds, 10 operating rooms, labs and a center for graduate medical education. It is expected to be complete in 2016.

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A Sugarless High:

A San Diego business starts its race in the energy drink race this month with a new beverage for diabetics.

AM Labs Pharmaceuticals introduced B Clear USA as “the nation’s first all-natural, additive-free sports drink specifically formulated for individuals with diabetes.”

B Clear features Stevia, a natural sweetener. It comes in packets that are mixed with 6 to 8 ounces of water.

A box of 20 packets costs $12.99 plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

AM Labs was founded in 2005 and claims to be a developer and marketer of prescription and nonprescription products for various diseases. Per its Web site, B Clear is its only product currently for sale.

Early sales figures for the new beverage have not been reported.


Send health care news to Jessica Long at

jlong@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3114.


Editor’s Note: The Health Care column in the April 23 issue (Survey Finds Nurses More Concerned About Workplace Than Pay) erred in its description of the parking structure under construction at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. It will consist of 1,350 spaces. The error has been corrected in this story.

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