As EASTAR Health System continues to grow, officials are seeking help — in a positive way.

“We have a need for 80 RNs — 43 just to replace traveling or temporary nurses,” said EASTAR Chief Executive Officer Tony Young.

Young said EASTAR is actively recruiting registered nurses through ads in newspapers, social media, and job banks. He said EASTAR conducts job fairs where candidates can interview and potentially be hired on site.

EASTAR, which operates two hospitals in Muskogee, has added 178 members to its staff since 2012, Young said, citing a 22.9 percent increase.

“We’ve been adding, but we still have a need,” he said.

“And we are exploring every opportunity to partner with educational institutions,” said EASTAR Chief Operating Officer Jim Davidson.

“We’re moving against the industry norm right now,” Davidson said.

He said the need for nurses is driven by the growth of the hospitals as well as “expansion of service lines and addition of service lines.”

In the past 18 months, EASTAR has recruited 78 new providers — including physicians and nurse practitioners in a variety of areas.