Hospice Foundation Launches Nurse On-Boarding Program

The Hospice and Home Care Foundation of North Carolina (HHCF) has launched a pilot program to develop a comprehensive and systematic on-boarding system for recently graduated and newly hired registered nurses who are working in hospice or home health for the first time. Through the program, HHCF helps to reduce the impact of ongoing staff shortages in hospice and home care.

The HHCF pilot will provide education and learning experiences for nursing students, including clinical rotation opportunities, one-on-one mentoring with experienced RNs, and a comprehensive and standardized employer-based training model to bring newly graduated nurses on board. HHCF will select 16 pilot sites to participate in partnership with eight nursing education programs at community colleges and universities and eight hospice and home health agencies.

The Raleigh-N.C.-based State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation is financing the pilot with a nearly $270,000 challenge grant, acquired through contributions from SECU members.

“With the severe shortage of nurses in our industry, and particularly in rural areas, we are delighted that SECU Foundation has approved a challenge grant to help fund our newest initiative to address this shortage,” said HHCF Executive Director Judy Penn. “Working together with the nursing schools and home care and hospice agencies, new nurse graduates and nurses new to this setting will be better prepared and onboarding will be quicker, ensuring patients will continue to receive quality care in their homes and communities.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 1.2 million RN positions will be vacant by 2022, with hospice and home care in the greatest need, followed by the long term care, outpatient, and rehabilitation settings.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently extended until Sept. 2020 a policy allowing hospice providers to use contracted nurses to help compensate for the lack of full-time staff. The policy was set to expire in Dec. 2018.

“This pilot program has the potential to make a great impact in North Carolina–aiding in the recruitment and retention of highly-skilled nurses and addressing the growing need for hospice and home care services in our state,” said SECU Foundation Board Chair Bob Brinson.  

The Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina established HHCF in 1998 by to promote the industry, educate consumers, provide workforce development, increase philanthropy efforts, and advance industry standards of care.