Print ArticleReply to ArticleE-Mail article Continued from Page 1About two-thirds of the interviewees had not taken the exams, Lim said.“The big drawback for them is that it is so costly to take those exams,” she said. Lim offered those nurses financial assistance for the tests. She promised to help immediate family members emigrate, too.In the end, Lim hired four nurses, the last of whom is expected to arrive in August. Lim said the fruits of her efforts have already multiplied.“I do get a lot of people who come in due to word of mouth,” she said. Nonetheless, she expects to use an international recruitment agency in the future.“Otherwise, we would have to designate a full-time person for recruitment,” she said. The organization has promised to bring 45 nurses in a three-year period.Lori Mielke, human resources coordinator for Clement Manor Health Care Center, a nursing home in Green-field, Wis., followed the recommendation of a state association and hired nurses through WorldWide Health-Staff Associates. “We could put an ad in for months for a nurse and get nothing,” said Mielke, describing why she hired an agency.WorldWide does the grunt work that Lim and her director did, including checking education, licensure, and work experience. The company then videotapes interviews with promising nurses and sends a digitized version of it with a rE9sumE9 on compact disc to employers. Once a facility chooses a nurse (sometimes after a follow-up phone interview), the company handles the legal paperwork and guides the recruits through English proficiency exams and the NCLEX predictor test.WorldWide specifies which documents need to be filed by whom and when, schedules immigration appointments, reminds recruits about necessary medical checkups, and even advises facilities how to organize for the arrival of new recruits.“It’s our job to counsel our clients how to get the job done properly,” said David Pascoe, WorldWide’s chief executive officer. “And we help the individual offshore who is just as flummoxed by the complexity of immigration.”But even with professional help through the recruitment process, facilities have a lot of work to do to welcome new nurses if they want a successful transition, Mielke said. She and the staff at Clement Manor held a cake-and-coffee reception for newcomers. They also arranged for new arrivals to stay in apartments within the independent living portion of the facility until they found their own residences.“We enlisted employees to donate items to furnish, and that helped make them feel like they were a part of the process,” she said. “And it made the nurses from the Philippines feel good, too.”Making the transitionMielke and her boss showed the recruits and their families around, taking them to the mall, to the bank to open an account, to the state office to obtain a Social Security card, and to the grocery store. They paid for two weeks’ worth of groceries, gave out a bus schedule, and provided their home phone numbers.“We took them all over the city,” Mielke said.When Clement Manor’s second recruit didn’t pass the licensing exam the first time, Mielke’s team provided her with a tutor from the facility’s sister college as well as a tutor from the nursing home’s staff.SSM Health Care’s Brecklin said her facilities held gift showers for their new recruits to supply even mundane items, such as brooms and mops. “These are nurses who have never experienced winter,” she said.Some critics say recruiters are poaching from countries that have their own nursing shortage. The Philippines, however, traditionally has trained more nurses than it can employ. Lim said many nurses there must find additional jobs to supplement their nursing incomes.“They get paid peanuts by Philippine standards,” she said.Brecklin cautioned overseas recruiting is only a partial solution to staff shortages.“Anyone thinking they can’t focus on improving the work environment will not benefit,” she said. SSM implemented flexible work hours, expanded education opportunities, and offered other incentives that have improved turnover dramatically, she said. “When you have a balance such as that, you’re ahead of the curve.” To comment on this story, send e-mail to [email protected].