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Solve the HIT Staffing Shortage: Train Your Nurses!

Recruitment is at or near the top of every CIO’s list of headaches. The demand for trained informaticists far exceeds the supply.  Moreover, it’s expensive to recruit and relocate people from outside organizations, especially when there’s no guarantee they’ll work out.

The video above captures an innovative solution by UC Irvine Healthcare, a major academic medical center in the Los Angeles area that has been ranked among the nation’s top hospitals for 11 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.  Rather than recruit for open positions, UCI’s IT leaders decided to look inward — to the nurses who are the biggest users of the most strategic and important applications in a health system.

“We decided that, rather than trying to recruit and bring people in and not meeting our staffing requirements, to go out to our nursing population at large within UCI and grab 14 of the best and brightest,” said Charles Boicey, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, Informatics Solutions Architect for UCI.

The idea came from Jim Murry, UCI’s Chief Information Officer, working with Boicey and Karen Grimley, the health system’s Chief Nursing Officer. Chosen from among 75 applicants, the 14 nurses received six months of classroom education, application training including Sunrise Acute Care, the system’s inpatient EHR, and precepting to bring them up to speed on informatics. UCI purposely chose nurses from different clinical areas including critical care, NICU, OB-GYN, pediatrics, ambulatory, and the ICU, so they’d be positioned to help end-users in those areas.

The nurses on the video expressed satisfaction with their new roles.  As one of the nurses in the program put it, “If you’re looking for the future of nursing, I think this is it.”

What are your ideas for easing the HIT staffing challenge? Leave your comments below.

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