Nurse Recruitment Gets Creative to Attract Top Talent

There are twins who began their nursing career in the residency program at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont Texas.

Maddie and Macie Saleme were born at this same hospital 21 years ago and are now working alongside some of the nurses who cared for them in the NICU.

“I want to be the same thing for parents that the nurses did for mine,” explained Macie. “They save little lives and take care of God’s little miracles and maybe I’m happy to do the same and retire from here.”

Maddie had equal praise for the nurses she is proud to now work alongside.

“The nurses here were asking, ‘How long have you been here?’ And, one of the nurses said, ‘oh 30 years or something,’ and I told her my name and she said, ‘oh I know who you are! I took care of you. I could tell you right where your bed is!’ It’s really cool to get to spend the day with them 21 years later when you’re in school for what they’re doing.”

KFDM-Twins Come Full Circle

This story is a good one because it is a good reason why so many choose to be part of CHRISTUS.

Debi Pasley, MS, RN, CHRISTUS Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer said that adjusting to the needs of the workforce is what the leadership team has tried to do over the last couple of years.

“This is a changing environment. When the pandemic began, we saw something we’d never seen before and that was a mass reduction in people who left for travel positions. Travel companies tried to meet the needs where the pandemic surged first, and they offered some hourly rates that were just over the top,” explained Pasley.

Debi Pasley, MS, RN

Nurse leaders, like Pasley, began to see some of the nurses coming in, especially, the ones the state as being exceptionally skilled and providing wonderful care, so the team turned to them for some extra help.

“We said, ‘Would you like to stay with us?’ and we offered them pretty much the same deal they were already getting. After that first wave, we ended up with 96 nurses remaining with us after the state ‘rack’ nurses left with the mobile team. And so that was the birth of our mobility team.”

The CHRISTUS Health mobility team plan was launched following the pandemic but was something CHRISTUS Health conceptualized long before.

Gerardo “Jerry” Flores, DNP, MSN, RN, CHRISTUS Health’s System Deputy Chief Nurse Executive, and the nurse leader who oversees the mobility team said the idea came from responding to a generational change in the workforce.

Jerry Flores, DNP, MSN, RN

“There’s going to be a certain number of our workforce preferring to move around, to be mobile, to live in different areas of our country and so we know that agency nurses as they are, continue to be in high demand,” said Flores. “During the pandemic, it became front and center. We just formalized it, and we kicked off our mobility program. And basically, it gave nurses who were wanting to go travel the opportunity to do so. They would keep their benefits. They would keep their seniority, and then they were given the chance to go through our different ministries, whether it was in South Louisiana and Northeast Louisiana, Northeast Texas or South Texas.”

Flores said the program accommodated those nurses wanting different experiences, but they wanted to stay with an organization they felt deeply connected to.

“The pandemic has woken up a whole bunch of people who want to serve who really want to help humanity. We have to be open to those non-traditional shifts now more than ever,” said Flores. “I’ve been in nursing now for going on 35 years. And, we’ve been pretty structured in how we work and we’ve worked mostly 12-hour shifts for the last 20 years or so or more. I came into healthcare when we were still working eight-hour shifts. We were doing three shifts a day, and then we moved to 12-hour shifts. Where are we today? Well, for some people, for many people, it becomes a really difficult task to do 12 hours three or four, five days in a row. And so being creative around how we schedule individuals so that they can continue to contribute as a professional, as a nurse, and that patients continue to get the care that they need.”

Listen more to how CHRISTUS is creatively recruiting the best and brightest by listening to the latest episode of CHRISTUS Calling:

Season 2 kicks off with Jillian Fertig as our new host and guide as we look at the incredible stories unfolding every day at CHRISTUS Health.

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