Legacy CNO talks about the future of health care
August 24, 2022
The Portland Business Journal recently held its annual Health Care of the Future event where the focus was not only on what health care will look like in the coming years, but how organizations are handling the challenges of today.
Legacy’s Kecia Kelly, DNP, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, was one of the healthcare professionals that spoke to the audience. Here is a quick recap of her comments.
We were already facing a nursing shortage prior to COVID-19. The pandemic exacerbated the situation. We’ve lost so many nurses who at some point reached their limit and decided to leave the profession. So, not only are we having to fill open positions, but learning how to work with such a deficit of knowledge.
Legacy’s approach to adding nurses
We’re tackling the issue on multiple fronts. I’ll touch upon recruiting and our nurse residency program.
Legacy recently started working with a recruiting service where the focus is to look outside our market and find people who want to work at Legacy. With this approach, we’re expanding our labor pool beyond our saturated market.
Our residency program traditionally brought in 30 to 40 nurses twice a year. That wasn’t enough so we’ve not only increased the cohort size, but now run four sessions a year. We just brought in 121 nurses for the latest cohort and overall, we’ve increased the residency program by 200%.
New teaching model
It’s not just the size of the nurse residency cohorts that is new at Legacy. We’ve traded the old preceptor model where it’s a one-on-one situation to a coaching model. In this new model, the new nurse residents spend their first six weeks paired with a coach and are focused more on basic fundamentals of nursing and administrative tasks.
We’ve found this prepares the residents better for when they start working on the floor. They are much more confident.
Piloting a new nurse model of care
A byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic is that patients we’re now seeing are much sicker. This requires a greater level of care. Even before the pandemic, we were talking about creating a new nurse model of care to deal with the nurse shortage.
We put together a team of nurse leaders frontline staff to examine the issue and come up with some ideas. Through this exploration, the group discovered that 45% of the tasks being performed by our nurses are tasks that don’t require a nurse license.
Now we are piloting a new model that potentially creates an interdisciplinary team of a nurse and perhaps other disciplines like a physical therapy technician or a pharmacy technician. The goal of this important work is to create the condition where nurses can practice at the top of their license. This process not only provides better patient care but relieves the burden on nurses.