CNO Roundtable 2021

Nurse Staffing

Q: Have you made any changes to your hiring, orientation or staff development as a result of the pandemic?

Lori Burnell

Valley Presbyterian Hospital

A crisis brings out people’s true colors, so we will definitely be considering what experienced nurse candidates learned during the pandemic prior to hire. Additionally, we will incorporate COVID-19 lessons into our behavioral interviewing, orientation and staff development courses. For example, scenario-based questions from real-life pandemic situations will be part of our interviews.

Our team will look for responses that demonstrate an interviewee’s compassion, adaptability and resilience. Our orientation training will include a robust review of isolation and infection control practices, as well as a simulation lab experience representing a decompensating COVID-19 patient.

Ruby Gill

Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center

We are fortunate to have a strong labor-management partnership, which we leveraged to implement different nurse staffing strategies based on an analysis of resources on hand and anticipated surge severity.

Collaborating with nursing and other organization leaders kept us agile and enabled us to address the ever-changing needs of the situation. We’ve offered extra-shift incentives; used seasonal and per-diem staff; and deployed onboarding practices we would once have considered unimaginable (including virtual interviews and stratified orientation with both virtual and in-person elements), with exemplary results.

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Evelyn Ku

Alhambra Hospital Medical Center

We have worked with nursing schools to bring in nursing students during their last semester, training them with preceptors and hiring them once they pass their NCLEX examinations. We have made changes to our orientation and training for all staff, cross-training our nurses to be competent to float to other units when needed. One quality that all new nurses need is teamwork. They should not say, “This is your assigned patient, not mine,” but rather, “How else can I help you?

Deborah McCoy

Methodist Hospital of Southern California

For the short term, we’ve filled staffing gaps with travel nurses and/or crisis nurses, but this is costly and not sustainable. In addition to targeted recruitment and retention efforts aimed at experienced nurses, we have developed a comprehensive one-year transition-to-practice program for new graduate RNs. This program addresses the complexities of the current practice environment and offers support for developing new nurses’ clinical decision-making skills through a series of 10-week rotations combined with didactic learning sessions.

Nursing Education

We launched our first new grad development program in October 2020. We’re very encouraged by the success we’ve seen to date, and are currently planning to bring in our second cohort in early summer.

Robyn Nelson

West Coast University Clinical displacement has been an incredible challenge to academia. Telenursing and simulation are effective in developing critical thinking and teamwork, but clinical rotations are vital for developing students’ psychomotor competence and confidence.

Rotations are opening up in 2021 as clinical partners realize that nursing students are an extra pair of hands, but will there be gaps in the preparation of 2020–21 new graduates? Even before the pandemic, 33 percent of new graduate nurses were already leaving the profession within their first two years.

Academia and service partners need to consider new strategies to support and retain new graduates post-pandemic: more transition-to-practice partnerships; longer orientation programs; and more new graduate residency programs.

Sherry Nolfe

Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have shifted to conducting initial interviews virtually and second interviews face-to-face, which has expedited the hiring process significantly. A quality we will continue to prioritize in nurse candidates is adaptability. In an environment of constant change, the flexibility and resiliency of our staff are crucial.


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