• Article
  • July 18, 2018

New Hospital Program Offers Nurses Summers Off

The strategy is aimed at decreasing turnover and balancing staffing needs.

Starting next summer, some nurses at Mercy Children's Hospital St. Louis will be able to take advantage of a pilot program that allows them to take summers off. Hospital leaders hope the time off will decrease turnover rates, combat burnout and help balance staffing during the slower summer months. Mercy Health's pilot program will accept six nurses, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

According to the plan, while nurses who participate will have summer off, the expectation is they would work three shifts per week from September through May, and won't schedule paid time off during that time. That is the peak period for the children's unit and overlaps with flu season.

During the summer, the nurses would receive full-time benefits and a bi-monthly stipend to cover the cost of insurance. They could also use any accrued time off to cover living costs and can pick up shifts at the hospital.

The program may be an attractive option for employees with school-age children, says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"We know employees feel gratitude to companies they believe are looking after them, and they try to find ways to reciprocate and help the company," he says. "It would also be a great retention device."

Send questions or comments to magazine@childrenshospitals.org.