Incredible Health cofounders Iman Abuzeid and Rome Portlock. Photo contributed

published on July 5, 2022 - 2:07 PM
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Central Valley hospitals are using various tactics to keep their pipeline of nurses. One source is San Francisco-based Incredible Health, a career marketplace for the nursing industry.

Dr. Iman Abuzeid, CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health, does not practice as a doctor. Her calling was finding a way for hospitals to hire staff effectively. She said Incredible Health is designed to serve nurses’ needs first.

After creating a profile, candidates then choose which interviews to accept from hospitals. Launched in 2017, Incredible Health is currently used by Kaiser Permanente, Kaweah Health, Community Health System, Saint Agnes Medical Center and Adventist Health, according to Abuzeid.

While staffing was a problem long before the pandemic, the hiring platform has become far more popular since it began. Hospitals’ need for qualified nurses has only increased.

A study performed by Incredible Health revealed that 34% of nurses plan to leave their current roles by the end of 2022. The study used its own hiring data of more than 400,000 nurses and surveyed those who use the platform. It found that burnout and pay continue to fuel high turnover rates. According to the study, of those that plan to leave their jobs by the end of the year, 44% attributed their reasoning to burnout and a high-stress environment.

“A lot of my family members and friends are doctors and surgeons and they are often complaining about understaffing,” Abuzeid said.

Her fellow co-founder Rome Portlock, a software engineer from MIT, has several family members who are nurses. Portlock has long heard of the frustration of applying for a job but not hearing back from the prospective employers.

“We just figured there has to be a better way,” Abuzeid said.

The demand for health care workers also continues to increase as the population ages, she said. But supply hasn’t kept up with demand.

The platform has mostly automated the screening process. It screens for licenses, credentials and malpractice records.

Also unique to the platform is the matching algorithm, which curates similarities between the hospital systems and nurses. Abuzeid said it’s designed to pull search results that reveal the best possible qualifying nurses per hospital. It screens over 90 different data points, including location preferences, care specialty, career advancement opportunities and shift preferences.

“The end result of that is hiring that happens in less than 30 days,” she said.

Abuzeid would not reveal the metrics of people hired in the Central Valley, but several hospitals in the Valley have confirmed they use the marketplace as a hiring tool.

Kaweah Health has used Incredible Health since 2018, and while it has been beneficial in hiring experienced registered nurses, the pandemic has affected the number of submitted applications through every hiring mechanism.

“Incredible Health is a great way for both the RN and the hospital to easily connect through text messages to determine if Kaweah Health will be a good fit for them Incredible Health is just one source Kaweah Health uses to recruit RNs. Other platforms are social media, various employment sites, virtual and in-person job fairs and visiting upcoming new graduates at universities and colleges,” according to a statement from Kaweah Health. 

In addition, Kaweah Health hires student nurses that are enrolled in an affiliated academic school of nursing. This program provides the students an opportunity to learn in a safe environment while developing clinical skills. The majority of these students will remain employed and transition to RN positions.

Kaweah Health will be accepting student nurse applications until July 24 for the fall semester.

Community Health System has used the platform for more than two years. Mary Warwick, director of talent acquisition at Community Health System, said 20 new hires have come through Incredible Health.

“Healthcare continues to face immeasurable staffing challenges including a diminishing applicant pool and industry-wide high turnover. Like hospitals across the nation, Community Health System uses a variety of platforms for recruiting potential candidates — including Incredible Health — which we’ve used over the last two years,” Warwick said in a statement.

“During this time, about 20 new hires have come to our organization through this platform. At a time when every healthcare facility in the nation is having difficulty attracting qualified applicants, our recruitment team’s efforts have proved the most successful for our organization. Because of the team’s tenacity and ingenuity, we regularly fill more than 400 positions each month,” Warwick added.

Kaweah Health said that it’s generally difficult to hire in the Central Valley because many experienced registered nurses leave the field due to lack of child care options for their growing families. Others leave for better compensation as a travel nurse — or they retire altogether.

“I generally think health care workers are some of the most overworked and underappreciated workers in this country,” Abuzeid said. “We want to do whatever we can to give them a more delightful experience, because that’s not what they’re used to.”

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