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Signing bonuses for up to $15,000 offered to nurses at 3 San Joaquin Valley hospitals

The Tenet Healthcare Corporation is offering up to $15,000 in signing bonuses at a job fair Thursday.

First-year nursing student Samantha Morffi always knew she wanted to be a nurse.

"I had really good experiences in the hospital with nurses that sort of solidified the route," said Morfii.

The first time she applied to the nursing program at Sierra College in Rocklin she got lucky and got in. So did fellow nursing student Todd Nunez.

What inspired him to become a nurse?

"Well, I took care of my grandparents and that’s what really kicked it off," said Nunez.

There is no waiting list at Sierra College, but it can take up to two to three years for some to apply to be accepted.

“And we would love to get everyone in who would like to be a nurse. Every school receives between 200 to 400 applications for between 40 and 60 spots," said Nancy James, Dean of the Sierra College nursing program.

James says the nursing shortage has to do with the economy as well. When the economy was down, retirement was a little farther from people's minds.

But, now the economy has improved.

“So, nurses are retiring more than say, five years ago. So, because of that positions are opening," said James.

According to California Nurses Association spokesperson Vicki Bermudez, it’s also geographically specific. Whereas larger metro areas have enough nurses, areas like the San Joaquin Valley with fewer nursing programs are now using incentives or signing bonuses to attract workers.

And then there are newly graduated nurses like Candace Quesada. She moved from Sacramento to Arizona to get through nurse’s school, only to have to wait now up to three months to get her California state nursing license.

For her, it's frustrating.

“Very. Because I moved here and I want to start working and I can’t," said Quesada.

Morffi hopes to one day become an RN nurses practitioner in women’s health. Her timing couldn’t be better with some hospitals begging for nurses to come work for them with extra cash thrown in just to sign up.

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