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Case Study_ Histology Personnel Shortage

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Shelly Semerad, MA CT (ASCP)Director, Pathology Practice at HealthPartners
Case Study:Histology Personnel Shortage
A 2017 Case Study
TimelineFebruary 2017; overnightHistotechresigns for a Day shift position at another organizationApril 2017; evening/nightHistotechresigns for a day position at another organizationStandard recruitment efforts begin immediately.Postings on LinkedIn, Hospital website, NSHCandidates slow to present; those who did present did not meet our minimum job requirements.
Case Study Continued
May 2017; little to no movement in the candidate pool.Reassessed market and other offeringsRecognition bonus for existing staffEmployee referral bonusRevised job postings to include;Sign –on bonusRetention Stipend (night shift only)Evening/night position filled 5.18.17Official start date July 2017.Overnight position remains open
Case Study Continued
Sept. 2017; Overnight position continues to struggleDecided to go back to the team and “Uberize” our offering one last time. Transitioned our night shift to 4/10’s.Immediately upon updating the posting, 4 qualified, experienced candidates appeared.As of today; our open night position is still open; 8 months later.
Questions we asked?
What’s going on? Is everyone experiencing these shortages?How many trained board eligible graduates are we gaining each year? How does this compare to 2, 3, 4, or 5 years ago?Do we need to start our own training program?Do we really need a trained HT? Can we settle for meeting our minimum education requirements and OJT?Are we being too picky?How long will this staffing shortage continue and is the only fix “robbing Peter to pay Paul”?
What we learned
Nobody likes working nights.Having a market competitive hourly wage and good benefit package wasn’t enough.Others already had additional compensation stipends in place, we were behind our market.Candidates wanted more, including flexible hours.We need a plan to internally train our own future team.Need to strongly consider an educational partnership so the risk and talent to train future staff is shared.Play to our strengths; networking, using current employees as recruitment arms, and leveraging our community as a desired place to live.
Summary
The Histology workforce locally, and regionally is scarce, and growth in trained professionals looks bleak.Trends of continued changes in reimbursement, cost pressures and system integration will play on our ability to remain agile and support training and education.Human capital needs are changing.We still require people, not machines in Histology.

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Case Study_ Histology Personnel Shortage