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Media Contact:
Lauren Jones, Media Relations
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
734-712-4033
joneslae@trinity-health.org

Title
St. Joe’s Announces Innovative Way to Attract and Retain Nurses
Start Date
10/23/2009
Article
Hospital launches cost effective program to recruit nurses ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) has launched an innovative and cost effective way to attract and retain nursing staff. Recently, SJMHS announced its new FirstChoice Flex Solution program, which is an in-house nursing agency staffed and run by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “St. Joe’s saw an opportunity to better steward financial resources and offer a flexible solution for its nurses,” explains James Graham, director of talent acquisition at SJMHS. “We are addressing workforce issues with this innovative staffing solution aimed at improving patient care, while providing better incentives and attractive scheduling options to Michigan-licensed registered nurses.” The program initially launched at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Saline Hospitals and will expand throughout the health system over the next year. The cost savings SJMHS expects to realize is substantial; the program is projected to save SJMHS approximately $1 million in over-time expenditures and eliminating external agency nurse expenses. The FirstChoice program is an internal agency-style staffing pool that helps nurses make the most of their busy lifestyles while earning premium pay. The customized program is designed for nurses who desire greater flexibility in scheduling and competitive pay scales, as well as increased variety in practice settings. “We have found that traditional agency nurses often feel like a hired hand and rarely develop relationships with colleagues and mangers,” said Graham. “This in-house setting fosters better relationships between the FirstChoice nurse and the hospitals, while increasing engagement and the quality of patient care.” “The nurses love the program. They are employed by St. Joe’s, so there is continuity of care for the patients, and the nurses feel like they are just as much part of the team as traditional nurses. And because we are able to keep this work in-house, we are able to save on costs that we previously had to pay to agencies,” explains Graham. According to Jason Davis, a registered nurse and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s inaugural FirstChoice nurse, “The greatest thing about the FirstChoice program is the flexibility. I’m able to work when I want where I want, have the better pay, and I have more time at home with my family. I can plan my work schedule a month in advance now. “As an agency nurse, it’s like you’re trying to bake a cake in someone else’s kitchen. As a FirstChoice nurse I actually feel like I have a home, which is very helpful for me; it let’s me be a better nurse.” For more information about Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s FirstChoice Flex Solution program, please contact Nicole Roberson at 734-712-3263 and for employment opportunities contact Rob Britton at 734-712-2396.
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