Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea

Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

Mayo Clinic is posting about 100 nursing jobs that will be created or become available in the next two years as part of its controversial consolidation of the Austin and Albert Lea campuses.

On Monday, Mayo Clinic Health announced what it described as “an innovative plan” to provide “a roadmap” for its nurses. The idea is to list nurse, nursing assistant and health unit coordinator positions that will be needed in the two Minnesota cities throughout the phased transition.

Most of its inpatient services, like surgery, hospitalization and childbirth are being closed in Albert Lea and moved to the Austin campus. The Albert Lea hospital employs about 1,000 people and indirectly provides jobs for about another 500. Its annual impact on the local economy is about $180 million.

The City of Albert Lea, many state leaders and others have strongly criticized Mayo Clinic’s plan since it was introduced last summer.

Popular or not, the change is coming and that means the future of about 100 employees who work in nursing is up in the air.

“As we continue our work of transitioning certain hospital services between our Albert Lea and Austin campuses, our staff is experiencing the uncertainty that can come with change,” wrote Chief Nursing Officer Diane Twedell in a press release about the job postings. “They have asked us — and our communities have asked us — to provide as much clarity as we can about what the future looks like.”

Twedell explained Mayo Clinic wants staff members to apply for future positions now. She added that once awarded, a future job would be held until the transition is made.

“We will work individually with each employee,” Twedell said of situations where a nurse’s might end in Albert Lea months before their new one will begin in Austin.

The Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, put out its own statement Monday that denounced the Mayo’s job posting plan as just adding to the confusion surrounding the unpopular consolidation.

“Today’s announcement that Mayo is asking nurses to commit now to take jobs that won’t exist for up to a year and a half exponentially increases the uncertainty that employees already have about their futures,” wrote MNA President Mary Turner. “Mayo is once again causing more anxiety among employees and going against what they said they were going to do.”

Mayo Clinic leaders said they hope the unconventional job postings help them keep experienced nursing staffers working throughout the consolidation.

“We want everyone to know that we are working hard to retain all the talented staff that have provided such good care for them, and to keep employment in our communities strong and stable,” said Mayo Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Mark Ciota.

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Jeff has worked at newspapers as a reporter, columnist, editor, photographer and copy editor since 1992. He started at the Post Bulletin in 1999. Kiger is the PB's business reporter and writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street."