How Novant quickly increased its nurse workforce after an immediate jeopardy threat 

Wilmington, N.C.-based Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center has made significant progress in bolstering its nursing workforce over the last two months, adding more than 300 nurses.

"What we've been able to do over the last two months has been extremely impactful, but we still have a ways to go," Amy Akers, BSN, RN, chief nurse executive at the hospital, said in an Aug. 31 statement. 

State inspectors visited the hospital in June and identified deficiencies regarding patient rights, nursing services, emergency services, quality assessment and performance improvement. Many of the care deficiencies at the hospital were related to its nursing shortages.

CMS accepted Novant's correction plan Aug. 11, and the hospital regained compliance after a follow-up visit was performed.

The hospital has brought on nurses through new graduates, a new residency program and traditional recruitment across the state. It has hired more than 100 travel nurses and 26 certified nursing assistants. More creative means of recruitment, such as allowing applicants to speak directly to recruiters, have also been embraced.

"We're hearing from the team members that they feel the impact of the new team members coming in, so I think that's been really helpful," said Kirsti Smith, director of people and culture for Novant Health's coastal market. "We just want to continue to provide fantastic care and that's what we're going to do every day."

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