July 28, 2021
Temple University Health System will invest nearly $5 million to enhance nurse scheduling, staffing and recruitment to bolster its staff as Temple's nurse vacancy rate approaches 10%.
The health system currently employs a total of 2,387 registered nurses across its four campuses. The vacancy rate, or number of open nursing positions, sits at 9.1%.
"We have doubled our use of agency nurses to maintain very safe staffing levels," said Michael A. Young, president and CEO of Temple University Health System and Temple University Hospital. "But our nursing vacancy rate is still higher than we’d like it to be. That’s why we are proactively doing something about it."
Young said Temple's vacancy rate is "on par with the national average," which is 9.9%.
Mimicking the national trend of employment cuts during the pandemic, even hospitals across the country were faced with furloughing and laying off nonclinical nurses and staff. Over the course of the pandemic, Temple hired 400 nurses. Now, it wants to hire more than 200 more throughout its four-hospital health system, Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The funds will go toward flexible scheduling options, like weekend programs for working parents or nurses that go back to school. Temple will also offer referral bonuses for staff members that recommend a colleague that is hired.
"This comprehensive package of investments is part of our continuous process of reviewing and strengthening our ability to anticipate, prioritize and fill areas of greatest nursing needs for our patients," Young said.
The funds will also increase pay for float nurses and offer incentives for extra work time, sign-on incentives and relocation assistance.
"We are laser-focused on making Temple Health’s work environment for nurses as rewarding as possible," said Angelo Venditti, executive vice president of Patient Services and chief nurse executive of Temple University Health System.
Temple is using an "innovative nurse hiring platform" called Incredible Health to reach more candidates.
Earlier this year, Temple University Hospital was ranked as the most racially inclusive hospital in Pennsylvania by the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.
However, the health system lost out to the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center among the top ranked hospitals in the country in the U.S. News & World Reports rankings released earlier this week.