11/16/04 — Hospital expects to add 53 jobs in coming year

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Hospital expects to add 53 jobs in coming year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 16, 2004 2:03 PM

The new chief financial officer at Wayne Memorial Hospital says she sees a healthy growth spurt for the hospital in 2005, with 53 new jobs to be added.

Becky Craig has replaced Micheal Lucas, who retired. She said the ground work for progress was already well in place when she arrived.

The hospital has 1,228 full-time employees, she said. There are also 144 part-time employees, 67 nurses paid without benefits, 42 on-call nurses, and 8 considered temporary employees.

Mrs. Craig said 25 positions were added this year, with plans to create 53 more in the coming year. Most of them will be in the areas of nursing and the pharmacy, to accommodate the increasing admissions to the hospital.

She said the nursing shortage is an ongoing problem, but that she believes the hospital does a good job of encouraging students to consider nursing as a career.

The high growth areas for patients at Wayne Memorial, she said, are for orthopedic surgeries, neurological procedures and in urology. The number of Medicare admissions has also jumped, she said.

She said hospitals inherently face the challenge of balancing quality of care with a tight budget.

"We will not skim on the quality side," she said, "which means we continually hire new nurses."

Mrs. Craig said the hospital expects to pay $75 million this year for salaries and benefits. The average hourly salary for employees is $22, she said, which ranges from $8 an hour in support services to some clinical employees who earn $100,000 a year.

With the additional 53 positions and salary increases, she estimates the payroll figures could top $77 million.

Benefits from the economic effect will also be felt in the community, said Amy Cain, public relations director for the hospital.

"Any time we grow, the county's going to grow," she said. "A lot who come from out of town will bring with them spouses who also need jobs."

Mrs. Craig said that every two weeks, an estimated two dozen new employees go through the hospital's two-day orientation program, a number of them new to the area.0

The hospital's Web site, www.waynehealth.org, has been an effective tool in the job search by bringing many to Wayne county.

"Positions are posted on the Web site," Mrs. Cain said. "The thing most people look for are job postings."

Mrs. Craig said that keeping nurses' salaries comparable to larger areas like Raleigh has also helped.

"We feel like we have to be competitive or we lose good people," she said.

At the same time, she added, hospital rates for patients have remained relatively low.

"Our rates are in the lowest 25 percent of the state," she said. "I think we're positioned well for managed care.

"I think we have control of other costs and have leveraged our cost structure to keep things down" for patients.

Mrs. Craig and her husband, Chip, are moving to Goldsboro from the Charlotte area. She has been a project manager for the Legends Development Co. in Hickory. She is a former chief financial officer for the hospital in Leesburg, Va. She is the mother of three daughters.