Parkview Health is creating more than 50 registered nursing positions to decrease its hospitals’ nurse-to-patient ratios, officials said Thursday.
The decision was driven by a desire to provide both higher-quality care and a lower-stress working environment, said Dena Jacquay, Parkview’s chief HR officer.
"(RNs) want to spend more time with patients," she said. "The No. 1 priority is patient care."
The local nonprofit employs about 2,000 RNs who work directly with patients, she said. Parkview’s total workforce is about 10,000.
About 350 RNs from four states registered to attend the local nonprofit’s four-hour job fair Thursday. Parkview is recruiting for more than 100 open positions across the network, including in physicians’ offices.
The health care provider operates Parkview Regional Medical Center and Parkview Hospital Randallia in Fort Wayne. The network also includes community hospitals in Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Wabash and Whitley counties. A medical complex is under construction in Warsaw.
Hospitals’ nurse-to-patient ratios aren’t one-size-fits-all.
The American Nurses Association commissioned a 2015 report on optimal nurse staffing levels. Factors that influence levels include how sick patients are; how stable patient conditions are; how quickly patients are being admitted and discharged; how skilled nurses and other staff are; and availability of technology and other support.
In Parkview’s critical care areas, staffing might be one nurse for every patient, Jacquay said. On a medical or surgical floor, it might be one nurse for every five or six patients.
Parkview officials want to get the medical and surgical areas’ ratio down to 1-to-4 around-the-clock in the bigger hospitals, Jacquay said. She expects the move will help nurse retention.
Lutheran Health Network, Parkview’s local rival, didn’t provide its nursing ratios.
"Staffing in our hospitals is determined by census and the acuity of patients in our care," spokesman Geoff Thomas said in an email. "Nursing ratios are evidence-based, determined by number and needs of patients."
The national competition for RNs is fierce. The Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs, a listing of the fastest-growing, high-wage jobs based on expected demand into 2022, has registered nurse in the No. 1 position. Average annual wages are $57,370, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Parkview attracts RNs by offering competitive pay and benefits, including a signing bonus, Jacquay said. Applicants must pass a criminal background check. Parkview Health also offers career advancement opportunities, she said.
Lutheran Health Network also offers competitive wages and benefits, Thomas said. The health care provider’s next hiring event will be from 4 to 6 p.m. April 14 in the south lobby at Lutheran Hospital.
Parkview officials, who hold two major hiring events each year, are casting a wider net than previously for applicants.
Spokesman Eric Clabaugh said the health care provider is recruiting in surrounding states. The latest group of applicants included RNs from Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.
Some are attracted to a relatively lower cost of living in northeast Indiana, Clabaugh said.