CenterWell Home Health and BrightStar Care look to ‘incentivize’ new home health nurses through pipeline

CenterWell Home Health and BrightStar Care look to ‘incentivize’ new home health nurses through pipeline

In recent years, home care providers have seen the value of becoming more hands-on in building home health care pipelines. To achieve this, some providers have partnered with universities to create programs that will ideally bring in a wider talent pool.

CenterWell Home Health — the home health provider division of Humana (NYSE: HUM ) — is one of the providers going this route.

In 2022, CenterWell Home Health partnered with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University to create the CenterWell Home Health Family Laboratory at the Emory Nursing Learning Center (ENLC).

ENLC’s CenterWell Home Health home lab is designed to resemble an apartment, and nursing students will simulate home care in the space as part of their instruction.

“To really make sure that we prepare student nurses for a variety of different areas of practice, [we need] There are opportunities to do clinical rotations,” Humana chief nursing officer Kathy Driscoll told Home Healthcare News.

The laboratory is a three-bedroom apartment with all the standard rooms in a home environment and features realistic mannequins in different simulated areas. The lab also includes a control room where teachers can guide, observe or support different types of simulations.

This environment allows students to develop their clinical acumen in a lower-stress environment than patients’ actual homes. Driscoll said it also exposes students who have not previously had home health as part of their curriculum to the field.

CenterWell Home Health Home also plays an active role in shaping the simulation scenarios students perform in the lab.

“We work closely with Emory University to offer rotations at our physical locations, but we find that it works best when we have students spend time in simulation labs and give them a preview of what’s to come,” De Riscor said. “We also worked with some professors at Emory University and our own clinicians to help them create some common scenarios. We provided the curriculum for them, so to speak.”

Emory has also been a leader in home and community care, Driscoll said.

“Linda McCauley, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, is a super partner,” she said. “She is very passionate about home and community care and is truly a very collaborative partner in inviting us and our clinicians to help shape nursing students into the nurses of the future.”

So far, approximately 700 students have experienced simulated scenarios in CenterWell Home Health labs.

CenterWell Home Health’s partnership with Emory University also isn’t the company’s first initiative to build a home health care pipeline.

The company also has a partnership with the University of Houston. The university’s nursing students have access to simulation labs and the opportunity to shadow CenterWell Home Health nurses providing care in patients’ homes.

BrightStar Care partners with Chamberlain University to provide early education for nurses

CenterWell Home Health isn’t the only home care provider that understands the need to be directly involved in pipeline construction efforts. BrightStar Care, a Chicago-based home care company, began working with Chamberlain University in early 2023.

Chamberlain University was looking for an organization to develop a family health curriculum.

“They interviewed a lot of organizations, including a lot of our competitors,” BrightStar Care CEO Shelly Sun told HHCN. “I think everyone does see the long-term benefits of educating nurses earlier. For most nurses , it is common to graduate from nursing school and do clinical rotations in a hospital or nursing home, without being exposed to home health while completing nursing school or considering it as a practice area.”

A collaboration between the two organizations created a home health curriculum for nursing students.

Sun explained that once the partnership between BrightStar Care and Chamberlain was formalized, the company was “not letting the grass grow under its feet.”

In other words, BrightStar Care jumped into action and took on the task of helping develop the curriculum.

“From the time we agreed, the contract was signed within 30 days,” Sun said. “Five months later, the class was signed on and included in the fall 2023 schedule, enrolling with Chamberlain at six locations. The hope and expectation is that we will continue to expand to additional locations in 2024.”

While it’s too early to properly measure the impact of the BrightStar Care and Chamberlain courses, Sun noted that they have surveyed students who have taken the courses. More than 50% of students said they would now consider a career in home health.

In addition, some students completing courses in the fall are coordinating internships with BrightStar Care locations.

“Instead of doing a 96-hour internship in a hospital or nursing home, they choose to do it in a home health setting,” Sun said. “It’s a small percentage, about 15 percent, but it’s a huge sign that there are people who are willing not to have extensive exposure in the hospital and are willing to do rotations in home health. It does mean that we’re in the early stages of where we Will continue to improve and continue to get better over time.”

Going forward, Driscoll and Sun believe it will be critical for health care providers to be involved in efforts to directly address the nursing shortage, especially in the home care space.

“We need to really think about not just who is coming to us, but how we prepare people,” Driscoll said. “We’re even older than the School of Nursing. We’ve always been focused on middle school and high school students. How can we educate them on the tremendous benefits of being a nurse? How can we inspire them into the future?”

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