The identification and simplicity of clear and common objectives from the collaborative assisted the colleges in building an equally collaborative solution.
spent on each nurse hired
The nursing workforce in Arizona, as in most states, is aging quickly and there are no longer enough trained specialty nurses to meet the growing need for their expertise. This hiring difficulty is compounded by the ongoing challenges of turnover among nurses at all levels of experience in most U.S. states.
Arizona is expected to experience a 23% growth in demand for specialized nursing, with 20,508 new openings projected by 2025. As a result of this demand, hospitals must hire expensive traveling nurses and pay extensive overtime in what is a very costly support model. Recruitment for new talent can cost up to $10,000 per nurse, and though these numbers vary by location and facility, when you add costs incurred through orientation, education, and inactive working hours for a nurse preceptor, hospitals can spend around $170,000 on each new nurse they hire.
The healthcare system in the region needed a more efficient way to upskill candidates from entry level to specialty nursing roles, so the Hospital Workforce Collaborative was organized by the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation to address ongoing critical skill shortages. These nine hospitals in the Phoenix area used the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) model to identify their greatest pain points – developing and retaining nurses in six specialty practice areas – and develop a plan to address them.
The collaborative of employers established a partnership with the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) to inform the curriculum of applicable nursing and healthcare programs within the district’s ten community colleges to meet the needs of the growing healthcare business community. The state of Arizona approved a $5.8 million budget request to expand nursing programs at the community colleges, specifically focused on upskilling existing employees. This unique approach to upskilling talent will deliver the workforce that the local economy needs.
The Cost of Vacancies
The costs of RN vacancies and turnover are found in the expense of recruiting new nurses, hiring agency or traveling nurses to fill vacancies, engaging in excessive overtime, or suffering the operational costs created by a shortage of qualified nurses. The American Organization of Nurse Executives reports “a conservative estimate” is $10,000 per turnover. On average, a facility with 400 RNs must be prepared to recruit and train up to 80 new RNs per year, representing direct costs of $800,000 per year.
are projected to graduate through this new talent pipeline by 2021
936 specialty nurses
are projected by major healthcare providers in the region to need upskilling in the next year across six practice areas
has been committed by the state to support the community colleges
Overcoming Communications Gaps
The 10 community colleges in Maricopa County are organized under one district. But all 10 schools are individually accredited and operated with varying employer relationships from one college to the next. Without a strong link to the employers, the schools had a limited understanding of how to meet their incumbent worker needs.
“They weren’t looking at specialty nurses as their area of focus because hospitals are all looking to hire nurses with four year degrees. But the collaborative wanted a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing and one year of work experience who could be upskilled. While the four-year degree is the responsibility of universities, the upskilling certificate falls within the mission of community colleges.” — Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer for the Greater Phoenix Chamber
Once community colleges understood the magnitude of the need for incumbent workers (TPM’s Strategy 4) and had access to a collborative of employers that would help determine the related requirements, they immediately responded. The collaborative provided a mechanism for colleges to respond more quickly to market and employer demands rather than continue a model that shifts continuously over time. The collborative began to refine the curriculum, as well as the right facilities and partnerships to deliver it (TPM’s Strategy 5).
Standardizing the Curriculum
It wouldn’t be practical to work with each community college independently, so the collaborative worked with the head of workforce development for the entire community college district who helped them focus on the community colleges most involved with the healthcare practice, specifically nursing.
For example, if an Operating Room (OR) certificate program already existed, the collaborative would inform the curriculum to ensure it aligns with each hospital’s needs and expectations. The community college would then pilot the OR stackable credential program to upskill existing nurses before they transfer to specialty units.
After measured success, the collaborative would complete the same process in other specialty areas to launch additional programs. To supplement these educational efforts, the collaborative is exploring the possibility of completing the stackable credentials with an apprenticeship program.
A Repeatable Model
The TPM initiative is a framework that makes it possible for a community, region, or state to achieve the same kinds of results that this collaborative has seen and develop a reliable pipeline of talent across any industry.
TPM is an outgrowth of the supply chain management business model where communities build regional leadership coalitions among business, education, and workforce to identify partnerships that produce sustainable talent pipelines. Employers are in the driver’s seat of these partnerships so that the resulting workforce solutions are truly driven by demand. Get started today.