Healthleaders Magazine Apr. 2004
Back in the 1990s, when columbus Children's Hospital enjoyed a plump reserve of nurses, new applicants were often left hanging for weeks before hospital officials ever ponied up a job offer. HR was cemented down by cumbersome paper applications, and communication between departments was spotty when it came to scheduling interviews. But by 2001, the hospital had experienced its fourth consecutive year of 10 percent patient-volume increases, and the nurse pipeline was emptying fast. Vacancies spiked to 15 percent, up from only 6 percent in 1999. Something had to be done.
The Columbus, Ohio, hospital needed to retool its hiring process. But leaders didn't immediately hire a troop of traveling nurses, or offer too many hefty sign-on bonuses to pad the ranks. Instead, they did something that isn't easy to do when it's time to squash a crisis: They slowed down and did an extensive root-cause analysis of all staffing operations. This included looking at turnover data and surveying staff nurses and focus groups including nurses nearing graduation, to see how they viewed the 303-bed pediatric facility.