Increase competitive edge – Summit Healthcare

Health care consulting calls and fly-in event improve nurse recruiting

Leadership at Summit Healthcare collaborate

Member: Summit Healthcare, Show Low, Arizona

When Jonathan Fish, R.N., interviewed for his current position as a nursing recruitment and retention specialist at Summit Healthcare, he was surprised a job of this nature was being created. But soon, he understood. Summit is a 101-bed hospital that had 35 open full- or part-time nursing positions. On top of that, the hospital was adding two more departments that would add approximately 25 more nursing positions. Summit was in dire need of more nurses and a better system to hire them.

Carolyn Jacobs, R.N., chief nursing officer (CNO), took action. After coming into her position in November 2018, she researched best practices to improve the nursing situation. She appealed to the hospital's board, which then approved three supporting initiatives.

Jacobs' first move was to shorten and double the nurse residency programs at the hospital. Before, the hospital hosted a single nine-month residency. Now, Summit hosts two six-month residencies. She also began a nurse extern program at the hospital for final-year nursing students. "They work part time while still in school and work side-by-side with a nurse," Jacobs explains. The residency and extern programs would both provide new nurses with excellent experience and help Summit gain nurses — 16 right away and another 12 by August 2020.

Her next step was to hire a nurse recruiter — the position that Fish eventually filled. To learn about the job responsibilities and qualifications required for this position, Jacobs participated in a health care consulting (HCC) call with Mayo nurse recruiters. She also attended Mayo Clinic Care Network CNO Fly-In 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where nurse recruiting was a primary focus. With knowledge from these events, she created a robust job description and started interviewing.

Jacobs hired Fish in November 2019. In the months that followed, he brought in 11 new nurses. "In my new role, I have a deeper appreciation of the value of having a nurse recruiting nurses. With my nursing background, I can understand the recruit side, but also the director side, administration and budgeting,” says Fish.

With a growing hospital, Jacobs and Fish see more opportunities ahead. To improve the screening and interview processes, Fish participated in another HCC call with Mayo and has since started a pilot project that is ultimately streamlining processes and getting new hires into the hospital faster. According to Jacobs, the Mayo collaboration has been valuable to Summit's staffing goals. "We're excited about what we've learned and what we're doing," she says.

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