South Florida Hospital News
Wednesday May 22, 2019
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May 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 11

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Some Solutions to the Nursing Shortage

As a Chief Nursing Officer I am often asked, "What keeps you awake at night?" Obviously, there are many things! One that concerns me is the nursing shortage. How can I be sure I will have enough high quality registered nurses to meet the need of my patients in the future?

Recognizing this problem back in 1999, nursing leaders — both CNOs and educators — formed the South Florida Nursing Shortage Consortium, which looks at both recruitment and retention. As a founding board member of that group, I have helped many initiatives take place, e.g., working with the high schools in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties to better inform them regarding the requirements for nursing today and also about the extensive opportunities that exist for the professional nurse. Our "Shadow a Nurse for the Day" program maximizes the use of clinical resources to facilitate schools’ ability to provide quality clinical experiences for their students.

At Jackson Health System (JHS), our initiatives include but are not limited to the following:

  • The Succeed Grant Program, which is funded by the state of Florida, has enabled Jackson nurses to earn a certificate in education. This provides high-level nurse educators to lead clinical nursing education, including facilitating clinical rotations for University of Miami School of Nursing students, thereby helping to bridge the nursing faculty shortage.
  • The Research Certificate is another partnership with the university where Jackson nurses earned college credits and a certificate in nursing research. The graduates presented their research projects at JHS and various conferences throughout the community and nation.
    The following are three programs that help the Jackson Health System attract new nurses:
  • The JHS Scholars Program is a scholarship for Miami Dade College students who are committed to pursuing nursing as a career. Our JM Foundation provides matching funds for tuition, fees and increased faculty at the Miami Dade College of Nursing. All lectures and clinical rotations take place at Jackson. In May our first 40 graduates will complete this program.
  • Jackson has had a very successful Summer Choice Program where we hire approximately 125 senior-year nursing students each summer for six weeks. Although in place for over 15 years, we continue to refine this program — coming from initially having the students work as nursing assistants to complementing their nursing curriculum. The Health Care Advisory board stresses this as a "best practice" to improve the entry into field and to help reduce new graduate turnover.
  • Jackson Health System offers a wide variety of internships for new graduates, i.e., adult and pediatric, critical care, adult medical-surgical, emergency care, and perioperative, in addition to a general orientation for all nurses. These programs are highly sought after by the new graduates.
We are now looking very closely at all of our new graduates entering into the practice programs — nationally 35-61% of new graduates leave their first position in less than one year. This is a very costly issue.

Finally, based on the work of the Health Care Advisory Nurse Executive board, we are looking at how we can strengthen our relationships with all of the local schools of nursing and work together to strengthen the students’ clinical experience. In this way, we may be able to reduce time spent in orientation and increase the new graduate’s satisfaction with their new skills.

An area that continues to work to provide nurse leaders in Florida with useful data to improve nursepower planning is the Florida Center for Nursing. As a new member of that board, I am very enthusiastic about its work and encourage you to use their data, which is available at www.flcenterfornursing.org.

Jane Mass, Senior Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer, Jackson Health System, can be reached at JMass@jhsmiami.org.
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