Nurse training program wins Innovation Award at Healthcare Staffing Summit

Parallon Workforce Solutions’ program to help speed nurse training and increase the supply of qualified nurses received the inaugural Innovation Award Sept. 30 at the annual Healthcare Staffing Summit in Las Vegas.

The program was one of three finalist programs presented by healthcare staffing providers during the last panel at the summit. The audience of summit attendees voted on a winner after hearing 10-minute presentations from all three programs.

Finalists making presentations were:

  • Avantas, “Predictive analytics: What it means for the staffing industry,” presented by Bill O’Brien, solutions executive.
  • Mitchell Martin Inc., “Outside the ATS: Automated outreach for credential tracking,” presented by Brian Delle Donne, executive VP, corporate development and innovation.
  • Parallon Workforce Solutions, “StaRN: A program to increase the nurse supply,” presented by Brendan Courtney, president and CEO.

StaRN, an acronym for Specialty Training Apprenticeship for Registered Nurses, is aimed at taking recent grad nurses and getting them to a competent level more quickly, Courtney said in his talk. It also aims to helps dampen the effects of the nursing shortage — which looks even tighter for specialty nurses, whose average age is in their 50s.

“StaRN is designed to increase the pool of qualified registered nurses while bridging the skills gap between new graduate nurses and experienced nurses.”

The StaRN program includes:

  • Didactic training. Classroom training that introduces nurses to core curriculum, hospital equipment and initiatives.
  • Simulation training. Academic simulation to let student experience multiple real-life patient experiences in a simulated setting closing the clinical skills gap.
  • Clinical preceptorship. Following didactic and simulation training, graduates are trained in their hiring unit at the facility by facility preceptors (practicing professionals).

The training lasts six to seven weeks, and nurses sign a two-year commitment to a facility in exchange for taking part in the program.

Launched in July 2012, the program is currently in place at 64 hospitals, and it will be in 112 hospitals in 2016.

StaRN had more than 500 graduates between July 2012 and June 2014. However, 2015 saw around 1,250 graduates and the company anticipates another 4,000 will complete the program in 2016.

Benefits of the program to staffing buyers, according to Parallon, include:

  • Improved employee engagement and job satisfaction
  • Increased staff retention
  • Higher patient satisfaction scores
  • Increase in qualified staff
  • Lower operating costs
  • Competitive advantage in a tight labor market

Parallon’s presentation included a video of a customer, Cathy Philpott, chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital.

“In today’s environment of the healthcare needs, the aging population and the nursing shortage for experienced nurses, we really have to build the future of nursing and to do that, we have to invest in the new graduates,” Philpott said.

While the audience at the Healthcare Staffing Summit voted Parallon’s StaRN program the winner, the presentations from the two runners up also drew interest.

Avantas’ program covered predictive analytics to help healthcare staffing buyers determine their required staffing volume up to 90 days in advance. It aims to help healthcare staffing buyers get the right resource, in the right place, at the right time and at the right cost.

Mitchell Martin Health Care’s program covered automatic outreach for credential tracking for healthcare workers that sends automated messages to clinicians to alert them of a pending expiration of a needed license. The aim is for savings in compliance and onboarding as well as risk mitigation.