We, like all healthcare organizations, are facing some very real pressures as we adapt to a post pandemic reality that includes ongoing upheaval in our industry. For example, we are navigating a shortage of critical care professionals and an abundance of patients in our ER with needs that are more suited to urgent care or primary care. This has led to some instances where patients experienced wait times that we consider to be unacceptable.
Despite these challenges, St. Michael is providing safe and high-quality care 24/7 to all patients in need. The hospital is open and safe for care, and patients should never delay visiting when facing an emergency.
We're doing everything we can to alleviate those challenges at SMMC by listening to our staff and community, redoubling our recruitment and workforce development efforts, and paying our nursing staff some of the highest rates in the state, as well as utilizing traveler nurses to fill vacancies. We know we still have work to do, and we’re committed to doing it.
We encourage you to view a snapshot of St. Michael Medical Center and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below, which address some key questions on our uncompromising commitment to safety, staffing, and outstanding patient outcomes. Should you have any comments or conversation you would like to elevate to our team, we are ready to listen.
Patient safety is our highest priority, and we do not compromise on safety. Ever.
Despite the challenges the healthcare community is facing, St. Michael is providing safe and high-quality care 24/7 to all patients in need. The hospital is open and safe for care, and patients should never delay visiting when facing an emergency.
On average, patients who need emergent care receive it within minutes. We triage patients that present at the emergency department based on how urgent their needs are – 72% of patients who presented to our emergency department on their own are in a treatment room 27 minutes after arrival, and emergent patients who are transported by EMS wait an average of 6 minutes.
However, a number of factors have led to situations where patients face longer than average wait times. This is not acceptable to us and we appreciate your support as we continue to find solutions. We also urge patients who are not facing an emergency to consider visiting their primary care provider, an urgent care location, or scheduling a telehealth visit when it’s appropriate to do so based on your medical needs.
We have clear protocols and processes in place for employees to escalate concerns related to staffing levels and patient volumes – and all leaders, directors and staff are trained on them. These protocols immediately put into motion steps the hospital can take to ensure staff can safely care for patients.
We are listening to our team members and the community to continue to find solutions, and working in close partnership with fire chiefs, EMS, and other area hospitals to ensure we are coordinating across the region.
Turnover at St. Michael for healthcare staff is well under the national average, and RN turnover at St. Michael is lower today than it was throughout COVID-19. The facility also has more RN headcount on staff today than we have had in the past 24 months. The last three months have seen more RN employees start than exit. We believe this is a testament to our ongoing efforts to recruit and retain staff, as we actively hire for full-time, part-time and as-needed employees.
We’re deploying innovative ways to attract and retain team members in the competitive labor market, including incentives such as:
In addition to recruiting from the existing labor market, we are working to build a pipeline of providers to address our community’s needs. The demand for RNs on the Kitsap Peninsula is very high, though we receive less than 2 candidates per open position. We know we must develop our workforce locally. As part of this effort, we are:
St. Michael Medical Center received notification from The Joint Commission that the hospital has received an accreditation decision of ‘accredited’. This is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to quality and safety, as well as a lot of hard work by the team. We take any findings for improvement seriously, and are dedicated to ensuring we maintain the highest quality and safety measures for our patients and staff.