Take-Aways from Becker’s CEO + CFO Roundtable: Attract and Retain Nurses with Flexible Approach to Staffing

November 29, 2022
The Trusted Works Team

We had the privilege of sponsoring Becker’s 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago this year. Healthcare executives from across the country joined us for a panel discussion to discuss how health systems can better attract and retain nurses. 

Frank Williams, co-founder and director of Evolent Health and chairman and CEO of The Advisory Board, graciously moderated the discussion with these three executive healthcare workforce leader panelists: 

  • Anita Girard, DNP, RN, Chief Nursing Officer/Vice President of Nursing, Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles
  • Betty Jo Rocchio, DNP, RN, Senior Vice President/System Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Hospital, St. Louis
  • Dani Bowie, DNP, RN, Vice President of Clinical Strategy & Transformation, Trusted Health

Amongst many valuable conversations that took place during the session, here are the three most notable take-aways.

1. Clinical care models need to keep pace with the growing nursing shortages

Dr. Girard mentioned that the inclusion of front-line nurses and nursing leaders in discussions about strategic priorities and operations - or “having a say in what goes on in the organization,” is a must. Cedars Sinai restructured its governance model so that the nurses have the ability to come forward with suggestions for changes they think will improve the model. 

Dr. Rocchio said Mercy is aspiring to build a flexible workforce that can expand and contract as needed, without paying the fees that an external agency charges. Technology and analytics are crucial to make this happen by creating an internal agency. Watch this webinar on Mercy’s roadmap for redesigning the workforce to learn more about their strategy.

2. A modernized approach: flexibility and frictionless workflows to attract nurses

An approach that ensures flexibility and frictionless workflows for nurses includes: 

  • Providing clinical workflows that leads to easy to follow evidence-based practices
  • Allowing nurse managers to spend more time supporting their teams by automating shift scheduling
  • Enabling nurses to take shifts they can practice at the top of their license
  • Discussing career development and upskilling, not only staffing and compensation

Dr. Girard added that reducing workplace violence is also critical to providers’ ability to retain nurses. Front-line nurses often find themselves subjected to workplace violence, and healthcare organizations need to acknowledge that and try to make it a safer environment. 

Hear more about addressing workplace violence issues on The Handoff podcast: A new approach to addressing violence against nurses.

3. Address talent shortages and remove friction with technology

Dr. Rocchio asked, “do we have a nursing shortage or are we just not using our resources efficiently?” 

Technology can be used to allow nurses to pick up shifts when and where they want to work. Automated and predictive staffing systems along with apps are advancing rapidly and healthcare organizations need to start looking into them to achieve those goals. Dr. Rocchio noted that when Mercy started using Works OnDemand, their nurse managers’ workload dropped by 20 percent. Moreover, Mercy nurses who use Works OnDemand have been happy to select their shifts through the app. Learn more about Mercy’s success metrics here.

Disruption and innovation are constant in healthcare

Dr. Bowie advocates, “workforce transformation is not an endpoint, but a journey.” She has written several articles to help healthcare organizations to start thinking about innovative staffing solutions and flexible workforce programs. Read about the internal travel agency model and some other flexible workforce programs here: