Beds. We all have one, and when we are really sick, we want one in the hospital.
Campbell County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) and
The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center both are
searching for qualified personnel so that we might put more patients in a hospital bed and more residents
at The Legacy.
The number of patients in the hospital at any one time—what we in
the health care industry referred to as the census—varies broadly,
to say the least. It is not unusual for us to have between six and 20
medical surgical care at any given time. We can just as easily go from two
ICU patients to nine within a few days. That is the possibility of more than
a 233% increase in census for medical surgical care, and a 350% increase
for ICU. This makes for some challenging staffing plans, to say the least.
The Legacy is a little different issue as they face a higher and longer-term
resident census. In both cases the heart of the issue is finding qualified staff.
Atlantic magazine article from February 2016 titled, “The U.S. is Running Out of Nurses,” the author quoted statistics saying “1.2 million vacancies
will emerge for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022.” The article
goes on to discuss the declining nursing workforce, while at the same
time the largest increase in the over-65 population in our nation’s
history is just starting to seek senior healthcare services. Campbell
County will not be immune to this major shift in healthcare demographics.
We have become a more desirable community for retirement, and therefore
are experiencing an aging populace. Our nursing leaders are reporting
to me sicker patients than we have seen before, and at an earlier age.
We are also experiencing an increasing bariatric, or extremely overweight
population, so that only makes the problem worse. What do we do?
We will have to become the type of organization that
recruits and retains qualified clinical personnel throughout our continuum of care. While salaries
are important, there are additional qualities and values our organization
will have to offer to our workforce besides money. While dollars may attract
someone, they don’t always keep and motivate for the long term.
I believe we are transforming into one of the higher quality organizations
in our region, and that must continue. Every employee, clinical and non-clinical,
wants to work where they know their colleagues are highly competent. High-performing
teams attract high-performing team members. That must be our plan for
the future. Yes we will strive to remain highly competitive on pay and
benefits, but all of us who want to be part of something special want
something more than money.
On next year’s organizational strategic plan, there will be a new
goal under our People pillar focused on workforce development. We will
consider pay and benefits, succession planning, internal talent development,
recruiting, and many other tactics that we plan on deploying to make us
more successful in the future, and help us on our way to fulfilling our
mission and vision to be the best at what we do.
Beds. We need them. What we need even more are the necessary professionals
to staff those beds, as well as providing all the other services we offer.
We must each be committed to Excellence Every Day in order to care for
the ever-increasing needs in our community. This will take a team effort.