Bay Medical Sacred Heart is holding a major nurse job fair on Saturday. It's the Panama City-based hospital's latest push to hire about 350 workers in anticipation of reopening 144 private rooms as part of its recovery from Hurricane Michael.

PANAMA CITY — Bay Medical Sacred Heart is set to hold a major nurse job fair on Saturday, doubling down on its plan to hire hundreds of people and open 144 beds this year.

The nurse career fair will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in the Panama City hospital’s south tower main lobby at the corner of 6th Street and Highway 77. It’s the hospital’s latest push to hire about 350 workers in anticipation of reopening 144 private rooms as part of its recovery from Hurricane Michael.

“As we continue to rebuild and grow our services in the community, we will work closely with medical staff and community leaders to meet the community’s changing healthcare needs,” said Heath Evans, president of Bay Medical Sacred Heart.

A team from Ascension Sacred Heart, operator of Bay Medical, will be recruiting nurses at the job fair to work in the hospital’s nursing floors and intensive care unit.

Evans said that reconstruction of the hospital had progressed steadily, with crews installing new roofs and windows and restoring areas that had water damage. He expects some floors will reopen in September, with more reopening during the next few months.

All 144 of the private rooms the hospital plans to reopen should be available by the end of the year, Evans said.

Philip Griffitts, chairman of the Bay County Commission and a member of Bay Medical’s board of directors, said the hospital’s commitment to reopening was a boon for the area.

“Bay Medical’s return to pre-storm operations is a critical piece of this community’s recovery,” Griffitts said. “It is exciting to hear that they continue to rebuild and a further indication that Hurricane Michael will never get the best of Bay County.”

Ascension announced in March that it would invest $47 million to rebuild the damaged hospital and restore services. The investment was made just days after Ascension took operational control of Bay Medical from Ardent Health Services.

Ardent announced in December that it would sell its controlling interest in the hospital because of uncertainty following the hurricane, then in February laid off 600 workers. After the layoffs, Bay Medical still had around 1,000 employees.

The Oct. 10 Category 5 hurricane knocked out all but Bay Medical’s emergency room services. In January, the hospital reopened 75 beds, eight operating rooms and five cardiac catheterization labs.

“We are very grateful for the support of the community during our recovery process,” Evans said. “I also have tremendous appreciation and admiration for the hard work and dedication shown by our hospital staff and physicians. Their devotion to providing quality, compassionate care to Bay County residents, even while most employees were dealing with their own hurricane damage issues at home, has been amazing to see.”

At the nurse fair, recruiters will provide information on signing bonuses for qualifying positions, tuition assistance and a benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision and retirement benefits.

Besides Saturday’s nurse fair, the hospital has tried to recruit other staff by holding “Walk-in Wednesdays” where applicants can meet with a recruiter. The next walk-in event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the hospital.

For information about jobs within Ascension. Visit ascension.org/careers.