In recent years, the South Carolina Lowcountry has been grappling with a significant nursing shortage, posing a threat to Beaufort and Jasper County’s hospitals. The South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative (SCNRI) was founded in 2021 to provide local primary care nurses with financial support so they could continue living and working in the Lowcountry. Since then, we’ve helped over 34 recent BSN and ADN grads start and advance their careers locally. Our program has been instrumental in addressing the nursing deficit and improving patient care in Beaufort County and Jasper County, South Carolina, as proven by recent data from the area’s largest healthcare center.
The Data Speaks Volumes
Russell Baxley, CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital, has provided some compelling statistics that underscore the positive impact of SCNRI. These numbers reveal promising trends.
- RN Hires on the Rise: Year over year, the number of registered nurse (RN) hires has consistently increased. This signifies that more nurses are joining the healthcare workforce in the region.
- RN Resignations Decreasing: In contrast to the growing number of hires, the rate of RN resignations has been steadily decreasing. This is a critical factor in retaining experienced nursing staff.
- Turnover Normalizing: Turnover rates in the healthcare industry were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are now returning to pre-pandemic levels. This indicates a stabilization of the nursing workforce.
- Agency RN Usage Decreasing: During the height of the pandemic, healthcare facilities relied heavily on agency nurses. Thankfully, this dependency is decreasing as traditional employment opportunities become more attractive to nurses.
- Patient Satisfaction Rebounding: Patient satisfaction is a key metric in healthcare. The good news is that patient satisfaction has returned to pre-COVID levels, indicating that the quality of care is being maintained.
Karen Carroll, CNO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Weighs In
Karen Carroll, Chief Nursing Officer at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, emphasizes that these impressive numbers are the result of a multifaceted approach to workforce development. While SCNRI is undoubtedly a pivotal piece of the puzzle, several other strategies have contributed to these successes:
- Pay and Benefits Improvements: Addressing nurse compensation and benefits has made working at BMH more attractive to RNs.
- Supportive Services: Providing daycare and assistance with housing helps ease the daily challenges that nurses face, making their lives more manageable.
- International Recruitment: Expanding the talent pool by recruiting internationally has been crucial in filling nursing positions.
- The PATH Program: This program has increased the availability of ancillary support for nurses, reducing their workload and stress.
- Employee Wellbeing and Engagement Coordinator: Employing a dedicated coordinator for employee wellbeing and engagement has contributed to nurse satisfaction and retention.
- Job Fairs and Internal Recognition Programs: These efforts create a positive work environment and recognize nurses for their hard work.
- SCNRI’s Contribution: SCNRI has played a vital role in improving retention rates.
Joel Taylor, CEO of Tenet Healthcare, Acknowledges the Impact
Joel Taylor, CEO of Tenet Healthcare, acknowledges the significant progress made in the healthcare system and notes that while it’s challenging to establish a direct correlation, SCNRI is unquestionably one of the variables positively impacting the situation.
While the facts above are testaments to the positive impact our organization has had on the Lowcountry’s healthcare centers, we’re not done yet. We’re relying on the support of friends, neighbors, and community members like you to help us further our mission to retain top nursing talent in the Lowcountry. Together, we can provide recent nursing graduates with up to $12,000 (BSN) or $6,000 (ADN) over a 2-year period.
Become a “Friend of the SCNRI” and make an investment in this important initiative to attract and retain nurses here in Beaufort County and Jasper County to help mitigate this growing nursing shortage. Click here to make a donation today, and join us in our mission to keep the Lowcountry healthy for years to come.