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Client Interview: Lydia Ostermeier, MSN, RN, CHCR, Clarian Health Partners

February 15

Greta Sherman

Lydia Ostermeier, MSN, RN, CHCR is the Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services Recruitment and Retention, Workforce Development, Resource Allocation, Customer and Language Services for Clarian Health Partners in Indianapolis. Clarian is comprised of Methodist Hospital, Indiana University Hospital and Riley Hospitals.

TMP Worldwide: Wow, that's a long title. Do you really do all of that?

Lydia Ostermeier: It is a long title. My main work however is recruitment and retention for Nursing and Patient Care Services. Everyone is important, but nursing is the biggest part of my day.

TMP Worldwide: I hear you have a new employee.

Lydia Ostermeier: We do and I'm so excited. We have a new Sourcer of Nurse Recruitment. Well, he isn't new because it was someone who had worked in recruiting before and we were able to bring him back. That was good because he knows Clarian. He only focuses on the nursing candidates who apply for positions via the on-line process. We have such a plethora of applications these days. We were just swamped and we couldn't get back in a timely manner to so many of them especially the new grads. We have gotten about 300 new grad applications this year and we have only been able to hire about 90.

TMP Worldwide: Ninety new grads is a lot these days.

Lydia Ostermeier: We probably wouldn't have hired that many, but we had educated them and we are opening a new hospital in 2011 so we are over hiring and getting them trained. By the time we open the new facility in the March-May, 2011 area, they will be ready.

TMP Worldwide: So the Sourcer isn't just focusing on the new grads.

Lydia Ostermeier: No, he is charged with getting back to all the RN applicants. The goal is 24 hours and since that is all he does, he can do just that. Before, the Nurse Recruiters just didn't have the bandwidth to get back in a timely manner. They were doing too much and those on-line applications were just sitting in the queue. Our days-to-fill got out to 50 or 55 days. We need it to be shorter.

TMP Worldwide: The national average of days-to-fill for RNs is 55 so you weren't far off from your competitors.

Lydia Ostermeier: Well, we thought it should be better and our goal is to cut it dramatically. We already have a long process because we have peer interviewing and we require shadowing. We think those are important parts of the interview process, but we need to do everything we can to cut out any additional time while making the candidate feel good about the opportunity.

TMP Worldwide: What prompted you to hire the Sourcer?

Lydia Ostermeier: It was a direct correlation to the results of the Secret Shop TMP does for us. We Secret Shop annually and it became apparent that we were losing candidates and that candidates were being left for too long. We may not have wanted everyone who applied and we certainly couldn't hire them all, but who knows in three or six months a perfect position for one of those candidates could open up. We knew we needed to get back to them quickly, pre-screen them and then either move them on for additional interviewing or keep them interested in future opportunities. The new Sourcer has the ability to get to them personally and then keep them in a data base for future consideration.

TMP Worldwide: How do the recruiters feel about being Secret Shopped?

Lydia Ostermeier: Well, at first they didn't like it at all, but each year it has gotten better. This last year we had two meetings after the results were received. We celebrated the things we were doing right and what our improvements were over the past year. It was a mini-celebration but everyone who had been called out by name as having done something right was recognized and the process improvements were noted. It was pretty nice. Then we had a second meeting about what went wrong and how we were going to make improvements. Everyone gets involved. We work together about how we are going to improve the process. The team owns the process both as a team and individually. It is working very well because everyone is involved in the solutions and they know they are being measured. Everyone is now very excited when the results are in and they take a lot of pride in doing a good job when no one is looking. Well, someone is looking, but they don't know it at the time. It's pretty funny. I can hear them talking and they'll say "I think I was Secret Shopped" and I know they aren't being Secret Shopped, but they should act every day as if they are being shopped. Nurses are used to being judged and essentially shopped. It shouldn't matter because every day--no matter if it is a Shopper or an applicant the service should be great. They are now striving for superior customer service every day. To be honest, they take a lot more pride now.

TMP Worldwide: So how is the Sourcer doing?

Lydia Ostermeier: Well he has only been on the job two weeks. I knew I didn't want someone committed to nine to five. The recruiters are scheduled regular hours and you miss a lot of calls. I'm not saying the recruiters didn't make calls at night, but that wasn't really their working hours. The Sourcer's best time is four to seven in the evening. He is getting a lot of candidates quickly and it seems to be working great. I'll report back in a few months. The recruiters love it because it frees them up to do their jobs.

TMP Worldwide: Thanks Lydia.

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