Henry Ford Health goes international with nurse recruiting

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To help fill staffing gaps, Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System has revived its strategy of recruiting nurses from the Philippines, its COO said Sept. 22. 

"Similar recruitment efforts in the 1980s and 2000s were very successful, with many nurses from the Philippines enjoying wonderful, long-standing careers with our Henry Ford family. While the process can be lengthy, we have filed our initial applications with the hope of having the first group of approximately 100 recruited nurses here within a year," Bob Riney, who also serves as president of healthcare operations, told Becker's.

Henry Ford is among the U.S. hospitals and health systems that have faced workforce shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. While nursing shortages aren't new, working conditions during the pandemic exacerbated the problem, according to the American Nurses Association.

At Henry Ford, there has been a "significant shortage" in clinical and technical roles, Wright Lassiter III, the system's president and CEO, told a panel Sept. 21 during the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's Mackinac policy conference, according to The Detroit News.

Mr. Lassiter said the system, in recent months, has "been anywhere from 75 to 125 beds that we have not staffed because we were concerned about our clinical staffing models."

"That will continue, frankly, for the foreseeable future because we just don't have enough folks coming into the pipeline," he said.

To alleviate the nursing shortage, Henry Ford also is working with local and state university partners to assemble a pipeline of new candidates entering the job market, according to Mr. Riney. Among those partners is Michigan State University in East Lansing, which began a 30-year partnership with Henry Ford about eight months ago, focused in part on academic medical and health education. On Sept. 15, the university and Henry Ford unveiled a unified brand of their partnership: Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences.  

Mr. Riney said Henry Ford is also deepening its nurse recruitment from Canada while continuing to offer competitive wages and benefits and more flexibility in scheduling, among other options. 

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