IHS Retention Briefs | Volume 3 — Issue 2
March 2016
Photo of Employees

“Educational opportunities for children can greatly influence retention of professionals.”

Preparing Your Community for a New Hire: Schools

The IHS Office of Human Resources (OHR) Division of Health Professions Support (DHPS) is pleased to bring you the second eNewsletter in our Retention Briefs series for 2016.

This issue of Retention Briefs continues our series on Preparing Your Community to welcome incoming clinicians and their families and discusses how to prepare your local schools, administration and staff for a new hire and his family.

Most physicians who practice in rural areas and facilities say that a sense of belonging in the community is a critical aspect in staying with that facility. Not surprisingly, family situations, educational and work opportunities, as well as recreational and cultural activities, are also top factors that influence retention.

It Begins in the Classroom

The educational opportunities for children and quality of public schools in the area can greatly influence retention of professionals at Indian health facilities. Reach out to your new provider, ask a few questions about his or her family and identify or confirm which school his or her child will attend. Then, send the school principal or administrator a letter of introduction to the child and the family. You can also reach out to local organizations such as 4-H Clubs, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, after-school sports clubs and community centers.

Early interaction with and recognition from local school leaders and staff can go a long way toward ensuring a new hire and, most importantly, his or her family, are content in their new surroundings. In order to facilitate early interaction of a new hire and his or family with the local school staff, we’ve provided a letter of introduction template to send from your facility to the school administration or an identified member of the staff to request he or she meet with the family in advance and introduce them to the facility, curriculum and any extracurricular activities.

This small but worthwhile step can make a huge difference in the eyes of a new student entering a school system for the first time. And it can be a reassuring gesture for parents who are concerned about the transition not only to a new school, but to a new community and way of life for their children.

Retention Success Stories

Thinking about retention from the start is essential, from both a human resources and financial perspective: On average, the cost of recruiting a new employee is roughly 40 to 50 percent of his or her annual salary, according to a 2015 report by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC), a component of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has implemented a rural retention program that has shown significant improvement in provider retention within underserved communities. The pillar of the program is enhanced communication: this entails one-on-one communication in the form of a mentorship program that pairs NHSC clinicians with health professionals transitioning from training to service. Mentors are available to discuss new trends in primary care, challenges faced during in-school training and professional development among other pertinent

topics. In addition, NHSC updates its Facebook page with program dates and deadlines, event details and NHSC news and highlights. And NHSC staff work with clinicians to ensure the educational, social and employment needs of their families are being met within the community. NHSC employees also receive the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce — Workforce Connections eNewsletter, which provides updates, event details, policy changes and pertinent news and information about working for HRSA. To subscribe, click here.

DHPS Fulfillment Center

Did you know that not only is the DHPS Fulfillment Center a resource for informative, up-to-date LRP, Scholarship and Recruitment materials, but the fulfillment center also has Retention materials available to order in print at no cost to you. Some materials are available electronically on the Retention website as well. To access a list of materials and to order, click here. Contact the administrator for a username and password if you do not already have one.

Turnover Rate for Hospital Workers

The average annual turnover rate for hospital workers is about 14.7 percent — with substantially higher percentages for particular groups, according to Human Resources in Healthcare: Managing for Success, published by the Health Administration Press. Author Bruce J. Fried notes that the estimated cost of a single nurse leaving a facility is between $42,000 and $64,000; these estimates support the claim that nursing turnover has significant financial implications for all health care organizations.

A New Generation of Health Care Providers

A new generation is coming into its own — it’s likely that by 2025, the majority of your facility’s providers will be millennials (generally considered to have been born from the late 1970s or early 1980s to the early 2000s).

Millennials now make up 25 percent of the US population, according to MillennialMarketing.com. They also represent a different set of values than the older generation to which you may be more accustomed. As a facility leader, you need to adapt your facility’s culture to retain this younger generation, now 80 million strong.

What could this entail? First, more collaborative efforts, such as team approaches, open communication and flexible scheduling. Also, your work environment should be up to date with the latest medical tools and equipment to keep this technology-savvy generation interested and engaged.

The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

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