Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Nursing Shortage in Pittsburgh Calls for Creative Solutions

RetuRN to Practice entices retired nurses back Into the field.




photo: shutterstock
 

For Pittsburgh’s largest healthcare systems, the nursing shortage means they have think of new ways of attracting and retaining talent. “All hospital [Chief Nursing Officers] are looking for creative ideas,” says Claire Zangerle, Allegheny Health Network chief nurse executive.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the registered nurse workforce is expected to grow from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024, a 16 percent bump. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be approximately 1.1 million job openings in the nursing industry by 2024, due both to growth in the field and retirement of longtime nurses.

In addition to recruiting new graduates, AHN opted to tap into another population: nurses who left the field and are looking to return. Regardless of why they left — family reasons or a disdain for shift work — Zangerle knew by offering flexible schedules, she could bring them back.

In May, AHN launched RetuRN to Practice, a program offering a free refresher course and flexible hours. The first cohort of 15 who went through the program are working at Jefferson and West Penn hospitals. Another cohort started in October with 47 nurses. The next is set to begin in January.  

During the course, nurses selects a hospital to shadow in the clinical interest of their choice. Once training is complete, they let their supervisors know when they can work, even if it’s only for a few hours a week. 

“There is not a time when they say, ‘I want to work this block of hours,’ and we say, ‘Sorry but we don’t need you,’” says Zangerle, who launched a similar program at the Cleveland Clinic before coming to AHN.  

The exchange for flexibility is lower pay, Zangerle says. However, one of the program goals is to convert participants to regular full-time or part-time employment. In Cleveland, 40 percent of participants became regular hospital employees. “We really value nurses that have an interest in continuing to practice,” Zangerle says. “The traditional practice patterns and the traditional hours are not necessarily in stone anymore.” 

To help make UPMC a preferred workplace, the healthcare system offers initiatives aimed at supporting nurses who want to develop their careers, says Holly Lorenz, chief nurse executive. UPMC hosts a popular annual event called Talent Round Up, at which participants perform a self-assessment to determine their career goals and interests and get help with resumes, interviewing skills and networking.

UPMC hires nurse leaders internally more than 85 percent of the time, Lorenz says, and of the more than 1,000 graduating nurses the system hires a year, a third are employees who used tuition reimbursement to earn their nursing degrees. Lorenz also put a call out to the region’s schools of nursing challenging them to double enrollment and has been working with deans to do so over the last two years. 

“Even with the wealth of schools of nursing we have, there is opportunity for us to graduate more nurses in our region,” she says. Lorenz says UPMC Schools of Nursing at St. Margaret, Shadyside, Mercy and Jameson hospitals met the challenge.

Lynn George, dean of the College of Health and Wellness at Carlow University, says while Lorenz’s request is not realistic for every program, Carlow did double enrollment in its second-degree program for nursing, in which people with bachelor’s degrees in other fields can earn their bachelors of science in nursing in about a year. The university also offers its nursing program in collaboration with St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

One factor of the shortage directly affecting education nationwide is a lack of enough qualified nursing faculty to teach classes. “We are able to recruit the appropriate folks we need, but that’s not true for every place and that does limit the ability to increase enrollment,” George says.

Nursing leaders know a dialogue between healthcare systems and academia is crucial to addressing the shortage. When UPMC began to see a high number of operating room and perinatal nurses retiring, Carlow partnered with Montefiore and Presby to create internship programs. UPMC has been hiring graduates of the program, George says.

In January, George will become chair of the board of directors for Heritage Valley Health, making her one of the only nurses in the region to lead a healthcare system’s board, which she says is key to the future of the industry. “Developing solutions that end up with the best patient outcomes requires that nurses are actively involved in planning, decision making and providing care for those patients because they spend the most time with patients,” George says. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

What Brought Walt Disney to Pittsburgh

A futuristic attraction at the Allegheny County Fair drew a curious Walt Disney to Pittsburgh — and had a lasting impact on modern transportation.

Writer Damon Young on "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker"

The co-founder of Very Smart Brothas chats about his new memoir — and the state of Pittsburgh.

Makeup Makers: More Beauty Brands are Coming out of Pittsburgh

A pair of local businesses are breaking into the health and beauty business with innovation and tenacity.

How Well Do You Know Pittsburgh?

What do you know about the fountain of youth in North Park? The relics at St. Anthony’s? The history of Pittsburghese? We bring you all this and more in our guide to Pittsburgh lore full of insider info and fun facts. Plus, take our quizzes to test your expertise of all things Pittsburgh.

Are You a Yinzer or a Pretender?

Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your whole life or are a newcomer, there may be things you don’t know about our city — but you should –– so we have these quizzes to test your knowledge of the city’s pop culture, sports, food history and locales.

Restaurant Review: Northeastern Kitchen

The Squirrel Hill restaurant introduces Pittsburgh to Dongbei cuisine.

PM on KD: The Spring Weddings Issue

PM Content Coordinator Jesseca Muslin appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our spring weddings issue.

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.

Pittsburgh's 12 Essential Restaurants

Step-by-step, these establishments helped build our dining scene. Even better, they still have something to offer today.

Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company searched across the country for a key role in “Savior Samuel.” Then they found Aaliyah Sanders — in Edgewood.

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Love Thy Neighbor: Donating a Second Chance

Rachelle Jeffers and Allen ‘Bud’ Mitchell went to church together but they weren’t close. That changed when she found out he would die unless he found a liver donor. That’s how Jeffers became one of a growing number of living liver donors.

Our 50 Years: Rules for Dating in Pittsburgh in 1984

We took a serious look at romance. But with advice ranging from making sure restaurants have seductive lighting to the benefits of owning your own mansion, was it really meant to be serious?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company searched across the country for a key role in “Savior Samuel.” Then they found Aaliyah Sanders — in Edgewood.

Comments

Love at First Bite? Primanti’s Offers to Pay for Your Wedding

Love at First Bite? Primanti’s Offers to Pay for Your Wedding

The offer comes with a few strings attached.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

Comments

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

The popular Strip District eatery is set to expand with a to-go pizza counter.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Comments

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Ebenezer Baptist Church team up for "Let My People Go! A Spiritual Journey on the Underground Railroad."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.

Comments

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Appreciating the Patriots requires a healthy dose of historical perspective.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The horror sequel pivots in unexpected directions, for better and for worse.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Alita: Battle Angel

The 400-Word Review: Alita: Battle Angel

Producer James Cameron and Director Robert Rodriguez team up for a sci-fi epic depressingly similar to a dozen others.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

Sometimes, the future love of your life is just around the corner, whether you know it or not.

Comments

How Many Steps Would You Climb for Unique Wedding Photos?

How Many Steps Would You Climb for Unique Wedding Photos?

Pittsburgh has 739 sets of public staircases, and you can get photographs on them that are just as breathtaking as the ones you could get on more iconic spots like Mt. Washington.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Part of a three-phase plan, the 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses range in price from the mid-$600,000s up to $1 million.

Comments

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Savannah Hayes adds six new wallpaper designs to her line of throw blankets, accessories and tea towels.

Comments