Norton Healthcare stays ahead of the nursing shortage; Dow, Nasdaq show mixed results - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Norton Healthcare stays ahead of the nursing shortage; Dow, Nasdaq show mixed results

Wall Street appeared primed for a big bounceback Monday, but lost its steam around midday. After being up more than 100 points in the morning, the Dow stocks came back to earth.

The Dow closed up 70.51 points at 12,280.

The Nasdaq closed down 15.10 points at 2,459.


There is hope on the real estate horizon.

The National Association of Realtors says pending homes sales unexpectedly increased in April to the highest reading since October.  While still off more than 13% from a year ago, it is a definite uptick for the industry.


The healthcare industry has had an ongoing nursing shortage for decades.  In Louisville, Norton Healthcare has taken aggressive steps to stay ahead of the problem; the healthcare system has its own agency to keep a pool of nurses ready to work.

Denise Ashby is the director of Norton Clinical Agency Choices.  The agency's goal is to find and provide quality nurses for the Norton Healthcare System.

Ashby explains, "Everybody who works for us is part-time because, number one, they want the flexibility, and number two, most of them have another job besides just for Norton Healthcare."

The benefits are a two-way street.  Norton Healthcare has control over a pool of available nurses and the nurses have flexibility in their schedules.

Ashby says, "We have no limit on the number of people we can hire, the more the better. Primarily, again, that's because some people work a minimum of one day a month, some people like to work three to four days a week."

She also says, "We even have some nurses that drive in from Indianapolis and do two or three days for us and then go back home."

Judy LaFritz joined the agency pool a year ago.  "What attracted me was I could pick and choose what days I wanted to work.  Church is important to me so I no longer have to work on a Sunday."

Judy has joined nearly 300 nurses in the agency who are looking for the same type of flexibility.  "I think it works very well, and a lot of times you can get a contract on a unit, a specific unit is short of nurses, say somebody's going to have a baby and is off work or things like that.  Then they'll give you a contract, so you pretty much know that's the unit you're gonna work on for several days, and that's very nice."

In the 31 years Denise Ashby has been in nursing there has been a shortage of nurses.  And now the industry faces pending baby boomer retirements while the need for nurses rises.   Ashby says, "As you know, we have a new hospital out in the east end, Norton Brownsboro.  We anticipate having to help to backfill for other hospitals as they move staff out there.  275 RNs is a good number, but certainly I'm not opposed to four or five hundred if I could find them."

More information can be found at Go to News Links right here at

Since beginning the agency, Norton Healthcare says it has saved more than $35 million it would have cost to find nurses through outside agencies.

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