Paramount to UPMC’s strategy is the recruitment, retention, and education of clinical staff. These three key components are essential in ensuring the provision of high-quality care and access for the patients we serve now and into the future. The Clinical Excellence Endowment has a long-term goal of $10 million in order to have approximately $500,000 available annually to support the expansion of services, professional development, and education needs of all health care professionals. Through the comprehensive campaign, the goal is to raise the initial $5 million with future planned gifts playing a large role in the success of the endowment.
Retention and Recruitment
Recruiting and retaining high-quality physicians and clinical staff is increasingly challenging in northcentral Pennsylvania. When physicians, particularly specialists who are often difficult to recruit to a rural community, are deciding on whether to join UPMC, technology and equipment can be a vital factor in their decision. The endowment will support recruitment by assisting in funding equipment necessary to recruit a particular specialist, or to add a new capability to the services we currently offer. Oftentimes, these specialists are already utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, and the purchase of this equipment may not be in our system’s current capital budget.
Training and Education
Creating a culture of ‘growing our own’ will be critical. Locally and nationally, we are experiencing a shortage of clinical staff, particularly in rural communities. Currently, we have more than 126 nurses over the age of 60. Access to annual funding from an endowment for education will be instrumental to help us retain and grow the right staff to provide the highest quality of care for our patients. Education could consist of advanced nursing degrees, technology and equipment for internal training, and certifications for specific fields, like trauma and rehabilitation.
Center for Professional Development
The Center for Professional Development will provide a centralized space for education and training of all clinical staff. A classroom, lecture hall, computer lab, mock patient rooms, and simulation lab will enable a multi-faceted approach to education. Simulation training has been commonly used in industries, such as aviation, spaceflight, nuclear power, shipping, and the military, with significant positive outcomes. More recently, integrating simulation-based learning in the hospital setting has proven to support the ongoing acquisition of knowledge, enhancement of skills, and the development of inter-professional collaboration to best meet patients’ needs.
Simulation-based learning provides an immersive experience by providing real-life medical scenarios in a controlled and safe environment. Overall, the main objectives of simulation are to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care services, as well as improve patient outcomes
Training and education internally will greatly enhance our clinical teams’ preparedness for a multitude of situations, particularly those that don’t take place every day. Beyond annual training, the need exists to assist our clinical teams in pursuing advanced degrees and fellowships. This further education will raise the level of care we are able to provide and grow the leaders we need for the future of health care in our region.