4 ways to strengthen the nurse talent pipeline: AHA

Hospitals and health systems are buttressing workforce pipelines through new programs focused on health disparities and engaging high schoolers, according to the American Hospital Association

Here are four successful techniques to build the nursing talent pipeline: 

1. Create smart partnerships

One example of a mutually beneficial partnership is the one between University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and Community College of Baltimore County. The two partnered in summer 2023 to promote high-demand nursing positions for people in historically underserved communities through customized education and support.

They launched the Public Health Pathways Program pilot to fund 30 scholarships in the college's CNA program, which offers guaranteed employment at the medical center in Towson, Md.

2. Reshape clinical training

"A shortage of nurse preceptors is plaguing hospitals, exacerbating the challenge of onboarding new nurses," the AHA wrote. "Investing in nursing educational leadership roles can supplement nursing school faculty along with strengthening the preceptor ranks."

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health modified its clinical teaching associate program that offers nurses a position as adjunct faculty for colleges that want to expand clinical groups or class sizes. Baltimore's University of Maryland Medical System goes "even further out of the box," the AHA said, with its Academy of Clinical Essentials project. 

The ACE initiative, which launched in April 2022, bolsters a recruitment pipeline by pairing four nursing students with a University of Maryland Medical System-funded clinical nurse for a shift once a week. The 11-hospital system now has 50 cohorts participating. 

3. Mobilize care coordination

Old Dominion University's School of Nursing, based in Virginia Beach, Va., tailored a van to create a mobile health clinic, which brings care directly to rural communities that face high unemployment and poverty levels, transportation challenges, and limited healthcare access. The project works to encourage nursing students to stay in the area, too. 

4. Engage the next generation

Atlanta-based Grady Health in Atlanta had to turn hundreds of applicants away from its new Teen Experience and Leadership Program because of a high interest. The 236 high school students chosen for the inaugural program in summer 2023 shadowed hospital workers in four-hour shifts, which were flexible to accommodate high schoolers' schedules. 

The program aims to inspire more prospective healthcare professionals while jump-starting natural mentorships. 

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