Career advancement, flexibility and growth are reasons more nurses choose to leave health care

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nurses nationwide are putting down their stethoscopes to pick up another job opportunity that could provide better pay and hours.

According to a recent AMN Healthcare survey, a third of nurses across the country are likely to quit their careers to transition into another field.

Baptist Health President Michael Mayo said the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in the decline of nurses at all Baptist Health locations in Jacksonville.

He said the pandemic revealed a lot about the nursing industry.

“There were two stories that came out of the pandemic. One was, it was very taxing on our nurses and all of our staff. A lot of people left the field,” Mayo said. “On the other hand, it exposed parts of our industry that appealed to a lot of young people who wanted to do something to help mankind. That fed into our plan, working with our local educational institutions in terms of developing programs to educate them and get them in the workforce fast.”

Tammy Daniel, chief nursing officer at Baptist Health, oversees nursing at the Jacksonville hospital locations. She said while the hospital is trying its best to recruit new nurses, the staff is also working to retain the nurses they have.

“Coming out of COVID, we had about 500 vacancies and we had about 5,000 nurses,” Daniel said.

Daniel said the key to retention is figuring out what each nurse needs for their current career stage.

“A nurse who has been practicing for a long time may be most interested in taking care of a certain type of patient population, and meeting them where they are, versus a nurse that’s in mid-career may be more interested in how [ they] are going to the next professional position. So, career advancement. Other nurses may be more interested in the perfect schedule because they must be home with their children. So, the answer is being able to adapt your offerings to what the nurses want so they want to work at Baptist Health,” Daniel said.

The report also said 80% of nurses who took the national survey said this year will be the same as last year or worse for them.

Some of the lessons Daniel said they learned from the feedback is that nurses wanted more flexibility and more opportunities to learn quickly such as being about to transfer to a different department.

“Let’s say you’re a nurse in the emergency room. After seven months, you say I want to get into pediatrics, or I want to try some other field in nursing,” Daniel said. “We revised a policy from human resources. In the past, it said you needed to stay on the job for at least a year before you transferred. But our nurses today feel like they want the ability to transfer sooner than a year. That seems like a lifetime to them.”

Baptist is also a location where nursing students can get hands-on training.

The hospital has about 75 open nursing positions today, which is a significant turnaround from the 500 that were open following the pandemic.

A spokesperson for HCA Florida Memorial Hospital sent a statement to New4JAX about the practices the hospital uses to address retention issues.

Nurses are the heart of HCA Healthcare. At HCA Florida Memorial Hospital, we are actively implementing and offering resources, development and education to support nurses in their day-to-day work. We continue to make strides in our nurse recruitment and retention efforts. This commitment helps more than just our nurses at HCA Florida Healthcare in Jacksonville. While contributing to the future of the profession, our investments in nurse education is helping provide nurses throughout the Jacksonville area.

Some of our core offerings are:

Additional Onsite benefits

Career Pathways

When it comes to nurse retention, this is where we definitely benefit from being a part of HCA Healthcare.

We recently were the first hospital in the company to implement a new scheduling program, Timpani, that has helped with nurse retention. Nurses get to put in their desired schedules and pick and choose which days they work and when they are off. Our satisfaction reports indicate our nurses are 99% satisfied with their schedules which leads to better work life balance and happy nurses.

In 2023, HCA Healthcare announced more than $300 million in investments to support the education and training of nurses through the opening of new HCA Healthcare Centers for Clinical Advancement and the expansion of Galen College of Nursing.

In January 2023, the foundation announced $300,000 in grants for community colleges and universities to provide high school students early access to careers in healthcare.

Continuing education is a critical part of nursing practice, and that’s why HCA Healthcare has invested in the Continuing Education Unlimited library. Our nurses have access to more than 1,800 courses on an expansive range of topics to help them stay current in practice. HCA Healthcare clinicians leveraged the CE Unlimited library to earn more than 1.7 million CE credits in 2023.

Odette Struys, Spokesperson

We also reached out to UF Health about the matter. They needed more time for their response.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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