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CEO Update: It's not just having the room

CEO Update: It's not just having the room

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 patients needing 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.

In an 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.

~ Andy