You plan to go overseas to address your nurse staffing shortage. How is that going?
Our goal is to bring about 100 nurses into Henry Ford’s work environment by Q2 of this year.
We’re in good shape as that process goes. We filed all of our initial applications. Because we border Canada, we have a fairly active process, on a daily basis, of ensuring that we support our team members who may need our resources around immigration. We have between 900 and 1,000 nurses on a day-to-day basis who come across the border from Canada. So dealing with nurses from outside the U.S. is not new for us.
Once we get the first group, we’ll work through that orientation process and then begin simultaneously working on a second group of team members to join us.
‘There are Philippine nurses who joined us in the ’80s and ’90s who have practiced for long period of time in the Henry Ford system. In Southeast Michigan, we have a pretty strong and robust community of Philippine individuals. We have the experience and we know what mistakes we made in the past and how to overcome those.
So cultural competence can be a benefit here?
We’re extremely focused on ensuring that we can reduce health equity gaps. And part of that issue is ensuring you have cultural confidence with the team members who do the work.
We will be very diligent around ensuring that every one of our international nurses goes through the standard orientation process for all of our teammates. We also have additional acculturation processes that help build familiarity with the surroundings, with housing support, those kinds of things.
We have pretty aggressive mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training for our team members. We won’t require anything new from them. We’ll simply make sure that they have the time and the ability to go through all of that and understand expectations.
And then when you think about quality in this environment, we have to make sure staff members have what they need to be their best self at work. During COVID, we’ve had a 600% increase in team members requesting employee assistance support. We have more than doubled our resources around employee assistance. We have wellness rounds and resilience rounds for our clinical staff to help the blow off steam, to hopefully feel like they’re not alone.
We also have a process in which team members can draft their stories of what they’re experiencing and to share those with their colleagues. I’ve heard that it is one of the most successful efforts that we launched during the COVID crisis.