ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – One of Southern Utah’s largest employers, Intermountain Healthcare, is reportedly using more outside sources to fight back against the nationwide labor shortage and the pandemic.

Travel nurses are used to fill the gaps in areas where staff isn’t available in specialized areas, according to Kam Twitchell, a Human Resources Manager for Intermountain Healthcare.

“Based off of you know increased workloads, having to bring them in to support that, and to also support with staffing challenges as well,” he says,

He says despite hiring more travel nurses, they’re struggling to keep up with the increased demand for caregivers.

“When you’re competing for travel nurses, you don’t just compete in the state of Utah or even the intermountain West, you compete against travel nurses for the entire country, so yeah it’s been a challenge to find travelers especially with specific skill sets as well,” he says.

Twitchell says entry-level positions are more difficult to fill, despite offering competitive wages, even overtime for staff.

“Last fall of increasing our entry minimum wage above $15/hour and we’ve offered incentives to support our caregivers,” he says.

While the majority of employees at the hospital are locals, Twitchell says with hardly any affordable housing, potential employees are choosing other opportunities.

Twitchell says hospital and county leaders are still coordinating, working to find solutions to these issues within the community.