Training to the max:
Training to the max: Resource Nursing Manager Karen Nye, pictured with nurse Jacob Moon, makes sure that every resource nurse has the opportunity to pursue specialized, advanced education.

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Nursing Innovations

05. Transform your float pool into a highly trained SWAT team.

Five years ago, we managed our resource nurses in the same way that most other hospitals in America do it. We used them to float in, help out, and move on. We gave them our routine, low-acuity tasks—so they weren’t overwhelmed, but they were often overlooked for career advancement or special assignments. They were missing out on opportunities to their build clinical skills, and we were missing our opportunity to get truly valuable contributions from them.

All that changed when we made the decision to turn resource nursing into a career path, not just a fill-in job. “Our resource nurses have always received essential education, but they weren’t always offered advanced, specialized training,” says Karen Nye, manager of resource nursing. “Today, they’re some of the most highly trained nurses in our hospital.” And that means we’ve got a team of flexible professionals who are ready to take on any challenge—from critical care ICU cases to highly specialized burn procedures.

“Our resource nurses are the hospital’s SWAT team: highly trained, autonomous, and ready for anything.”
—Karen Nye, Manager, Resource Nursing

The front lines of critical care
The front lines of critical care: With our new AirMed track for resource nurses, every nurse at our hospital gets the training they need to build a dream career. Pictured here: Amanda Lawrence, Flight Nurse.

From standing at the bedside to soaring over the Wasatch mountains.

Our resource nurses can receive specialized certifications for our ER, ICU, burn and neurology units. And with our new AirMed track, we’ve taken resource training even higher. “AirMed needs highly specialized nurses who also possess incredible versatility,” says Karen. “Our resource nurses work all over the hospital and can perform many specialized procedures.” In other words, they’re the perfect candidates for the job. And we’re giving them the education they need to be part of that team.

“We’re changing the way people think about resource nursing,” says Karen. And we’re changing the way resource nurses work in our health system. Gone are the days when unit nurses would have to take time out of their shifts to show the float staff what to do. Instead, our resource nurses can teach them a new skill or take on a challenging patient. “They add real value to our professional nursing staff,” says Karen. “They’re an integral part of our critical care service line.”

$102,000 saved annually

Proactive scheduling has enabled our hospital to save $102,000 annually in overtime pay costs—just in our ICU units alone.

62% reduction in overtime hours

Before implementing pre-scheduling, our ICU units averaged 42 hours/week of overtime. Now, they average 16 hours/week of overtime.

Schedule proactively, not reactively.

In order to work more efficiently than ever before, and to provide even more value from our resource nursing staff, we’ve taken a big-picture approach to resource scheduling by staffing a full month ahead of time. “There’s no more scrambling,” says Karen. “Our nurses can look at the schedule, choose where they want to work, and help us fill known, active holes instead of perceived holes.”

Overtime hours decrease for five iCu units Overtime hours for our five ICU units have decreased significantly since the implimentation of proactive scheduling for resource nursing staff. Overtime hours increased temporarily in February and March during the transition of an additional unit to the resource pool.