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Recruitment and Retention for Rural Health Facilities Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Great Basin College Emergency Medical Services Program
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: Recognizing the need to increase emergency response times, rural Nevada struggled to recruit and retain EMTs, AEMTs, and Paramedics.
  • Intervention: Great Basin College created the EMS program to recruit and train new EMTs and paramedics.
  • Results: The program has now trained hundreds of state-certified EMTs and AEMTs in rural Nevada.
Rural and Underserved APRN Project
Added December 2017
  • Need: To reduce the primary care provider shortage in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: A "grow your own" initiative in Colorado recruits rural registered nurses and trains them to become advanced practice RNs.
  • Results: 36 RNs have participated in the Rural and Underserved APRN Project so far.
Men in Nursing Roundtable
Added October 2017
  • Need: To increase diversity in the nursing workforce, specifically in terms of gender.
  • Intervention: The Men in Nursing Roundtable in Wisconsin meets quarterly to discuss recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Results: About 7 of the 10 roundtable members are from rural hospitals. Group members appreciate the supportive environment and plan to organize educational sessions to encourage more men to pursue careers in nursing.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed March 2017
  • Need: Assistance for Midwest rural physicians who are experiencing burnout due to heavy workload, lack of staff, limited resources, and stress related to the use of electronic medical records.
  • Intervention: Through a variety of methods, Avera LIGHT comes alongside of providers to prevent and treat physician burnout and support their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Results: Physicians who have been on the brink of quitting because of burnout have stayed on staff as a direct result of Avera LIGHT.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Tennessee Rural Partnership
Updated/reviewed January 2017
  • Need: To address the increasing need for healthcare providers in the rural and underserved areas of Tennessee.
  • Intervention: The Tennessee Rural Partnership was created to assist in the recruitment, placement, and retention of physicians and healthcare professionals.
  • Results: As of 2016, more than 120 primary care providers have been placed in 70 rural Tennessee communities.
Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency
Added August 2016
  • Need: Hawaii is experiencing a huge shortage of family medicine physicians.
  • Intervention: The Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency (HIFMR) program uses an interprofessional team-based approach so residents learn how to care for many types of patients in different healthcare settings.
  • Results: In 2015, there were over 750 applicants to the residency program, which is now at full capacity with 12 residents. The first class of residents will graduate in June 2017.
Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) Program
Updated/reviewed June 2016
  • Need: Eastern Montana faced a shortage of nurses, especially in rural and Critical Access Hospitals.
  • Intervention: The Montana Health Network created the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) program to recruit nursing students to work in rural hospitals with the incentive of loan forgiveness.
  • Results: The program has placed 28 nursing student UAP at rural hospitals after nursing school completion, and 5 have qualified for loan forgiveness.
Kearny County Hospital’s Physician Recruitment Model
Added February 2016
  • Need: Physicians to serve in an increasingly diverse population in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Kearny County Hospital changed their recruitment model to include paid time off for doctors and midlevel providers to serve as international service workers, as well as medical school loan forgiveness.
  • Results: Kearny County Hospital has re-opened their services to out-of-county patients and are receiving an increase in applications from medical providers.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System
Added December 2015
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' 26 specialty medical providers and more than 20 specialty services

Last Updated: 12/12/2017