Forecasting Our Nursing Needs in 2017

By Sylvain Trepanier, DNP, RN, CENP, vice president and system chief nursing officer 

I think most of us would agree that we are scrambling every day to ensure we have the proper number of registered nurses to meet the needs of those we serve. Some days are more challenging than others and many people are working diligently to secure qualified registered nurses. What many of you might not know is the progress we have made at Premier Health regarding our overall work force planning. Yes, it’s not perfect. Yes, we still have more work to do. The purpose of this short article is to highlight the progress made toward our goal. 

  • In 2015, we developed a robust system to allow us to better predict our nursing needs and maximize our resources. To that end, this new system allows us to do a solid comparison year-over-year and to better measure our progress. I am pleased to share that: 
  • In 2016, we hired 714 registered nurses (RNs) and 322 RNs left, for a net gain of 392 RNs. In other words, we have 392 more RNs providing direct clinical care at Premier Health as compared to 2015. 
  • In 2016, we hired 452 patient care technicians (PCTs) and 184 left, for a net add of 268 PCTs. In other words, we have 268 more PCTs providing direct clinical care at Premier Health as compared to 2015. 
  • The RN turnover rate was 11.2 percent. This is significantly lower than the national average of 17.2 percent.  
  • To compensate for the higher seasonal census, we welcomed more than 175 travelers based on our predicted census, vacancies and turnover.

Based on our predicted census, vacancy, turnover, possible retirement, extended leave, etc., we plan on hiring another net add of 368 RNs and 237 PCTs for 2017. We have multiple recruitment events planned early this year to target experienced nurses. We also plan on onboarding just over 300 new graduate RNs via our residency program.

In summary, although we still need to hire additional RNs and PCTs for 2017, we have made a significant positive impact on the total number of RNs and PCTs at Premier Health.

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