Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital pictured from the intersection of Third Street and Highway 47 Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The Mercy system will be hiring over 200 people systemwide, including 10 at Mercy Hospital Washington, for its temporary COVID-19 support roles intended to help during the “hospital season.” 

Workers hired for these roles will hold the positions for six to eight weeks. Both clinical and nonclinical positions are available.

Mercy Executive Vice President and Administrative Officer Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer said planning for the program began Monday, Nov. 30, after reviewing results from a survey distributed to clinical staff and hearing from Mercy administrators.

Bentzen-Mercer said the biggest response heard from the clinical staff was needing an “extra pair of hands” and general help.

The need for extra support is not only being felt within the Mercy system but at hospitals nationwide due to the nursing shortage, Bentzen-Mercer said.

In May, Mercy furloughed and eliminated positions due to the “unforeseeable, dramatic downturn in business” caused by COVID-19, according to Missourian archives. 

According to Bentzen-Mercer, once Mercy allowed elective procedures again, the system was able to reopen positions and brought back as many employees as possible. 

“We have been able to bring a significant number of folks back to Mercy,” Bentzen-Mercer.

Mercy Hospital Washington currently has 134 permanent job openings for clinical and nonclinical positions, which includes 77 open nursing positions. 

Through this temporary jobs program, nonclinical support roles will help stock supplies, be “runners” for nurses by obtaining supplies and give additional support to clinical staff that is within their skill set and training.

Those who apply for clinical staff positions will be answering call lights for patients and facilitate interactions to meet patients needs, Bentzen-Mercer said. The positions are open to nursing students.

“These positions are very flexible and can be done in four-hour shifts,” Bentzen-Mercer said. “We are not requiring folks to give a set schedule. We are going to take them as they are available.”

With this program, Bentzen-Mercer said the hiring process has been expedited so new employees can start within a week.

She added Mercy will monitor the program and eventually decide whether to extend the positions.

As of Monday evening, the Mercy system had received 400 applications for the positions and 10 applications at Mercy Hospital Washington.