Nurse-Training Cuts Turnover at San Francisco Hospitals
by Michael Johns
, Project Manager | July 14, 2006
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Nursing-training cuts turnover
As reported in San Francisco Business Times.
Two major San Francisco Bay Area hospitals say they're benefiting financially and clinically from an innovative nurse-training and mentoring program that typically costs them $5,000 per trained R.N. One of its primary goals: To slash R.N. turnover rates by ensuring that young nurses get the support and confidence they need to succeed.
The 22-week clinical residency program, provided by Versant Advantage Inc., a nonprofit offshoot of Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, is being used by about 15 hospitals statewide. That includes Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto and Walnut Creek-based Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, which also has a Concord campus.
"We'd like to expand these residencies in other hospitals, and to expand as much as possible in the Bay Area," said Charles Krozek, R.N., Versant's president and managing director.
Pam Wells, M.S.N., Lucile Packard's chief nursing officer, said the pediatric hospital's overall R.N. turnover rate has dropped somewhat since it started using the program in February 2005, but that the drop in turnover among nurses with less than two years' experience has been "incredible."
That rate is now 7 percent, compared with 15 percent previously -- and in some departments, as many as half of the new nurses had been leaving after a short stay, with some leaving nursing altogether, Wells said.
Lucile Packard has graduated 110 nurses in two residency classes, and a third group of 20 young nurses started the program in March. Those R.N.s will graduate in August. It costs as much as $60,000 to replace nurses who leave, "so it really does make it worthwhile," Wells said, noting that turnover is often more severe in a complex setting like a children's hospital.
John Muir started using the program last summer for similar reasons, said Bev Jones, R.N., senior vice president for patient services, and to help win "magnet certification" from a national nurse credentialing association. The residency training is part of Muir's larger strategic effort to form partnerships with schools of nursing and help its non-nurse employees get into those schools, so they can upgrade their skills.
At the Walnut Creek hospital, which will start its third session in August, nurse turnover dipped from 13.2 percent in 2004 to 8.67 percent last year, according to Jones.
"We have no problem filling the slots," she said. "The number of nurses applying is phenomenal."
Rating claims processing
The California Medical Association, which doesn't always see eye-to-eye with health insurers, recently released fourth-quarter 2005 data collected by Athenahealth Inc. on how physicians rate insurers in terms of processing and paying claims promptly.
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