Updates on Staffing; January Stats, New Overnight Role, and Ongoing Recruiting Efforts

January 19, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

As we enter the middle of January, Jane Foley and I continue to prioritize all matters related to staffing.  We know that this is a topic that is important on multiple fronts, particularly as it relates to the quality of our care and the well-being of our team.  A few important notes and updates follow.

I reported in December that we had made very strong progress this past Fall in recruiting and that we were turning the corner in a positive direction.  Unfortunately, I know it has not felt that way across many units in the first few weeks of this year.  Much like the rest of the region, our own nurses experienced an uptick in Flu, RSV and COVID this month and staffing challenges were directly attributable to an increase in the number of sick calls and COVID-related quarantines.  On January 9, a peak of over 120 staff were on quarantine for COVID alone.

Jane and I both want to express our sincere thanks to the members of the team who took on extra shifts to assure coverage in impacted units.  In addition, we continue to use traveling nurses to fill these short-term gaps; while not a sustainable solution, the ability to bring them onboard quickly can be helpful at times like these.  Based on recent trends (both state wastewater data and sick calls), we hope that this issue will start to abate this month.  On January 17th, the number of staff on COVID quarantine had dropped below 40.  This is a hopeful sign; however, we are continuing to monitor trends and adjust our strategies accordingly.

The nursing leadership team also continues to pursue solutions and maximize our ability to be flexible in response to changing staffing needs.  I am pleased to announce that  we have added new nursing positions to the budget mid-year and will be implementing an overnight Resource Nurse without assignment on the med-surge floors and ICUs.  These positions have been posted and we are actively recruiting for them at this time.

As it relates to recruitment, we have added staffing partners dedicated only to nursing to expedite the hiring process.  In addition, to both address immediate needs and to support our longer-term pipeline, we recently welcomed our biggest class of nursing co-ops, with 75 team members supporting our nursing staff in Patient Care Technician (PCT) roles across the medical center.

Both Pete Healy and I have noted that there is no one solution to a staffing challenge that every hospital in the state and nation is facing; we will continue to be creative in pursuing multiple solutions. Thank you for collaborating with us as we move these initiatives forward.


Marsha L. Maurer, DNP, RN, FAONL, FAAN
Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services
Cynthia and Robert J. Lepofsky Chief Nursing Officer