For Kathy Lougheed, there's no mistaking the thrill of getting a new job at a brand new hospital in Maple Grove.
"Not everyone gets an opportunity to be at the start of something from Ground Zero," Lougheed said.
But just as quickly as Kathy was hired this fall, she started her first official duty. As the Manager of the Birth Center at the new Maple Grove Hospital, Kathy needs to hire dozens of Registered Nurses to staff her department.
"We've had people from Texas. I've had people drive for an interview with me from Iowa. I have someone flying in next week from Arizona," she said.
The numbers at the Maple Grove Hospital -- which officially opens Dec. 30th -- are startling: for just 200 open positions, the hospital has received 8,500 applications.
Maple Grove Hospital CEO Andy Cochrane says the hospital benefits from the larger pool, as they're able to pick the cream of the crop. Still -- he realizes the strong response is also a reflection of the industry's tough times.
"A lot of the health care companies and partners in this region have experienced lay-offs in the past year, so we know that there are more people unemployed in healthcare," Cochrane said.
The Minnesota Hospital Association estimates the state of Minnesota lost three thousand healthcare jobs in the last year, from November 2008 to June 2009. MHA Spokeswoman Jan Hennings says the association attributes the loss to both the financial crunch and the decision of a lot of people to not do elective surgeries.
The jobs at Maple Grove Hospital included a wide variety of positions, including: RNs; pharmacists; housekeepers; and lab technicians.
Of the 200 jobs they had available, the hospital has hired all but 50 of them. They say they expect to hire another 100 next year.
(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)