Interesting article: New center aims to help solve nursing crisis - News

The Nursing Workforce Innovation Center opened at UMKC on Aug. 13.

The center has many goals including improving the workplace environment, increasing retention and limiting the turnover rate of nurses in Kansas and Missouri.

Susan Lacey, Ph.D., RN, director of the center said, "What tends to happen, according to what the literature says, is within the first year you lose one in four nurses. The loss of even one employee costs the organization money."

The problem is a complicated one. It is not an issue of too few qualified applicants, but more a lack of available faculty, which limits the number of students in the pipeline.

"Schools in the area are turning away about half of all qualified applicants," Lora Lacey-Haun, dean of the School of Nursing, said.

It becomes a vicious cycle: there are not enough nurses on the ground, which creates a difficult work environment, which then leads to nurses seeking work elsewhere, Lacey-Haun added.

"Just about every hospital in our Kansas City Region is short on nurses," she said.

Lacey-Haun said the new center will address this shortage.

Recent data shows 23,000 nursing positions will be open by 2023. Currently, 1,200 nursing positions are open.

The tagline of the center is "Patient care quality-one nurse, one system at a time."

"Each and everything a nurse does, or doesn't do effects the patient," Lacey-Haun said.

Currently, the programs set to launch include:

"The Workforce Assessment": hospitals will be able to request an assessment completed by the center. It has a standardized instrument measuring workload, satisfaction, manager and unit support and hospital support.

The hospital receives a customized report and compares the findings to a national database. The center also supplies them with ideas to improve deficient areas. This program launches in January.

"The Clinical Scene Investigator Academy": staff nurses will come to the center and learn how to improve care directly with patients. This will also launch in January.

"Nursing Workforces Innovation Conference": the center will host a working conference. This will launch in 2010.

The center at UMKC is the first bi-state center of its kind. The hope is it will either expand to a regional center or lead the way toward one.

According to Lacey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave $250,000 and the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City gave $250,838 and $78,339 in-kind gifts, the REACH Healthcare Foundation gave $105,000 and Children's Mercy Hospitals gave $40,000.