By ARTHUR FREDERICK
BOSTON (UPI) – Faced with a nursing shortage and no relief in sight, New England hospitals are looking for nurses in Ireland, where there is a surplus of trained medical personnel.
“There are so many Irish nurses going abroad to work, they are leaving by the thousands,” said Maria Dolan, 30, a Dublin native now working at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. “At the moment, the job situation in Ireland is very bad and the job situation around the globe is very good.”
“There are some very attractive offers.”
Maine’s largest hospital, Maine Medical Center in Portland, recently hired 20 registered nurses in Ireland and is making arrangements to get them settled, said hospital vice president Ron Baril.
The hospital recently shut down several beds because of the shortage. Baril said the nursing vacancy rate nationally has doubled since 1985, to about 14 percent of registered nurses.
The Maine hospital has been recruiting around the nation for help, and not long ago began looking overseas.
Dolan said newspapers in Ireland are filled with ads from New York and Boston hospitals. Some offer incentives to nurses like free plane flights or lodging for a month.
The Nurses are allowed into the United States on temporary visas. They can work from one to three years, and after that time they can re-apply if the need still exists.