Citing a “chronic staffing shortage,” Western State Hospital in Lakewood has announced a plan to hire nearly 200 people by mid-November.
“We are looking for compassionate psychiatric professionals to join our team at Western State,” said hospital CEO Cheryl Strange. “These jobs provide the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives and I am committed to doing what it takes to find and keep people with compassion, heart and a strong work ethic. I know they are out there,” she said.
One of two adult psychiatric hospitals operated by the state of Washington, Western State is the largest psychiatric facility in the western United States. The hospital is hiring registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, psychiatric security attendants, mental health technicians, psychiatric security nurses, psychiatric social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists.
The additional staff would address needs identified at the hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A complaint investigation in September 2015 determined that Western State did not meet certain Medicare conditions of participation, including six conditions at the “immediate jeopardy” level. A revisit survey two months later determined that the hospital had abated those six conditions, but remained out of compliance with six lesser ones. A notice of termination of Western’s Medicare certification was initially issued to the facility in March, but after determining that doing so would have a detrimental impact on the hospital’s service footprint — and after WSH pledged to correct its deficiencies — the hospital was given another opportunity to achieve and sustain compliance.
The Department of Social and Health Services, which operates the hospital through the Behavioral Health Administration, now has a website dedicated specifically to recruitment for Western State. DSHS will use the site, coupled with a social media campaign and hashtag — #WorkAtWestern — to widen its recruiting reach.