Like many hospitals and health systems across the nation, the AdventHealth Central Florida Division is experiencing a shortage of nurses.
According to the Florida Hospital Association, the state could face a shortfall of nearly 60,000 nurses by 2035 if changes aren’t made in inspiring, recruiting and supporting nursing students and nurses.
Recognizing the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses, our leadership team at AdventHealth designated nurse recruitment and retention as one of our top priorities.
Using Research to Address Nurse Well-Being and Reduce Burnout and Turnover
In 2019, the AdventHealth Research Institute conducted a randomized, controlled clinical trial of direct-care nurses called RISE — which stands for Resilience, Insight, Self-Compassion and Empowerment. Facilitated by a licensed mental health counselor, the RISE sessions were designed to help nurses cope with high stress and reduce burnout.
Initial findings on RISE, which were published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, showed improvements in several outcomes including resilience, self-compassion, perceived stress and emotional exhaustion.
In a secondary analysis conducted during the pandemic, nurses who participated in the RISE research study were able to stay in their jobs at higher rates than similar nurses who had not. This research, set to publish in the Journal of Nursing Administration this November, shows the RISE program led to a difference of 20% in the nursing turnover rate between participants (15%) and nonparticipants (35%) in 2020–2021, resulting in a $549,000 cost savings in retention.
Additionally, after hosting a series of surveys and focus groups with nurses from different practice settings, we established a Nursing Advisory Panel. Composed entirely of direct patient care nurses from six counties across Central Florida, the Nursing Advisory Panel is designed to address the most pressing issues affecting the nursing profession and help ensure the organization enacts the most meaningful changes specific to nursing teams.
Implementing Change and Expanding Virtual Nursing and Interactive Training
Using this research and insight, our leadership team got to work and focused on improving nursing work intensity and pay, as well as helping nurses further their education and career goals.
At AdventHealth, we’ve made a commitment to keeping nurses working at the top of their license, spending quality time with their patients and finishing their shift feeling good about the care they provided.
To reduce bedside nurse workload, increase patient safety and improve support for new nurses, we launched an innovative virtual nursing program. The virtual nurse can video conference into the TV screen in a patient’s room, almost like knocking on the door, to help the in-person bedside nurses with admissions and discharges. These virtual counterparts are all registered nurses who also can help prevent falls, check on patients more often and alert in-person nurses to patient needs in between rounds.
Furthermore, our organization announced a bold commitment to team members and an investment of more than $571 million to enhance the overall team member experience, including offering competitive pay, education assistance and career growth; a professional excellence program to recognize achievements; and spiritual and well-being support.
We’ve also invested in expanded team models and providing the highest level of training to improve patient outcomes.
AdventHealth recently opened a high-tech simulation lab — the largest of its kind within the Central Florida Division — to provide nurses realistic training using interactive manikins that can simulate a range of health conditions and scenarios. Trainers, working from a central command center, can make the manikins “speak” and introduce new challenges to which nurses can respond.
All of these changes are designed to ensure nurses feel cared for physically, mentally and spiritually as they provide healing to the sick and hurting.
Through their exceptional care, invaluable knowledge and uncommon compassion, our nurses have a tremendous impact on patient lives. When our nurses feel whole, they can bring their best selves to the bedside and deliver the very best care.
Julie Vincent is the chief nursing executive at the AdventHealth Central Florida Division.