The health care industry’s history of steady job growth is estimated to keep climbing, with the creation of 5.6 million new jobs by 2020, according to a recent study. For Oklahoma’s medical sector, that means an expected workforce shortage and a growing challenge for Oklahoma hospitals to hire and retain the best applicants for the job.
To attract top candidates, Oklahoma’s leading health care employers are offering competitive pay and benefit packages, opportunities for career advancement, education aid and additional benefits such as medical spending accounts, onsite childcare, adoption assistance and more.
“Our goal is to attract and retain a skilled work force that closely mirrors the composition of the communities we serve,” says Maurie DeWitt, system administrative director for INTEGRIS Health, the state’s largest Oklahoma-owned health system, employing more than 8,500 employees. She emphasizes a recruitment process that “involves creating a high-contact approach with a personal touch.”
In addition to on-site childcare services, facilities like the Saint Francis Health System now offer comprehensive adoption assistance. Eligible Saint Francis employees can receive up to $8,000 for the process.
“There are 7,900 employees working in this Catholic health care system,” says Amy B. Adams, executive director of human resources at Saint Francis. She believes they’re drawn to the hospital’s faith-based mission and that competitive offerings help attract compassionate medical professionals.
Beyond financial compensation, hospitals are working to foster workplace excellence and develop close-knit internal communities.
St. John Health System – with more than 6,700 employees – concentrates on providing a workplace where employees feel welcome, respected and fulfilled.
“We have a rigorous recruiting process that includes pre-employment screening tools to ensure candidates are likely to be a good match with St. John core values,” says Page Bachman, corporate vice president of St. John Health System.
Bachman adds that employees need to be proud of where they work. St. John Medical Center received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2010, placing it among the top six percent of hospitals in the country, and is recognized among the top hospitals by US News and World Report.
“We feel we are leading the way in medicine, and this motivates all of us to perform at our best,” says Bachman.
OU Physicians, the largest physicians group in the state with 712 employees, places a high priority on employee and physician satisfaction and encourages an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration.
“We recognize that the need for high-quality care continues to grow, and we must meet that challenge,” says Paul Sund, OU Physicians director of marketing.
To address current workforce shortages – the need for registered nurses, in particular – hospitals are working closely with educational institutions.
“We are proactive in our staffing needs,” says Kevin Gross, chief executive officer of Hillcrest Health care System. “We’ve partnered with local nursing and vocational schools to identify future gaps in the health industry to ensure there are new generations of students trained for these professions.”
Hillcrest Health care System employs 5,200 and according to Gross, supports a culture geared toward “creating an engaged workforce.”
Looking ahead, both health care employers and employees will have high expectations – merging exceptional work and quality care with competitive pay, benefits and personal job satisfaction. Rebecca Fast