Recruitment and retention task force

Improving staffing challenges

by Bruce Dent

Medical Assistants_1

We all know we are in challenging economic times. The current economic environment has certainly had an impact on our labor market and on Intermountain’s ability to recruit and retain caregivers. One of our more challenging roles to hire for–and retain within the Medical Group–is our medical assistant (MA) role.

These valuable caregivers play a key role in the success our clinic operations. With this in mind, the Intermountain Medical Group–Utah has developed a recruitment and retention task force that involves nursing and operational leaders from across the Medical Group and partners with HR, Recruitment, and Student Programs.

This team has come together over the past year to address this challenge. As a work group, they have identified new pipelines and improved processes. During this time, caregivers in the MA role have received multiple market pay adjustments supported by work accomplished by this committee. Skill-based job descriptions were implemented that allow caregivers to more quickly advance in their careers, and the Caregiver Referral Program continues to be promoted. Successfully referring candidates to MA positions can earn caregivers a $1,500 referral bonus.

A new partnership with the University of Memphis has also been started through Intermountain’s PEAK program to train Intermountain caregivers to become certified MAs. The first cohort of students begins class in July. Medical Group nursing leadership has also developed MA Foundations classes to support dedicated clinical learning outside of the clinic in each of the markets that enhances our ability to improve our pipeline by training new MA residents. These continued efforts are making a difference. The Medical Group turnover rate for MAs is down from 10.70% (May 2021) to 6.80% (June 2022). In addition, the number of open positions to total positions (vacancy rate) has also improved from over 10% at this time last year to less than 8% currently.

There’s still plenty of work to do, but there is much to celebrate with this improvement to some of the staffing challenges. If you have questions about these efforts, please reach out to your Human Resources or Nursing leader for more information.