Motivating our own workforce to join our in-house staff bank to improve patient safety, patient experience, reduce nurse agency spend and provide better value for money. Recognising that our nurses are one of our hardest to reach groups we used a targeted social media campaign, supplemented by bus advertising, to recruit to our nurse bank.
Within 4 months we had recruited 117 additional registered nursers substantively employed by the trust to our nurse bank and a further 23 who were employed by other healthcare organisations. By April 2016 registered nurse agency expenditure was 5.3% of total RN expenditure compared to 10.6% in December 2015
1. Reduce registered nurse agency spend and increase the number of substantive registered nurses on our nurse bank
2. Motivating our own workforce to join our in-house nurse bank rather than seeking bank shifts via an agency
3. Improve consistency of care
4. Raising awareness among registered nurses not employed by the trust that there was an opportunity to join our nurse bank
5. Challenge of engaging with a traditionally hard-to-reach group of staff
1. Identifying three key stakeholder groups (internal substantive staff/agency staff/registered nurses not employed by the trust) and aligning key messages to those groups
2. Creating a campaign identity using ‘Investing in You’ as a strap line and utilising existing nurse bank staff as faces of the campaign
3. Developing a targeted social media campaign
4. Developing supporting campaign collateral to include web page, video, leaflets, postcards, banner displays and bus advertisements
5. Securing the support of partner agencies, including the local Borough Council and Enterprise Partnership to support the campaign and extend its reach
1. Registered nurse (RN) agency expenditure reduced from 10.6% of total RN expenditure in December 2015 to 5.3% in April 2016
2. Fill rates reversed, from June 2015 when it was 62% agency and 38% NGH bank to October 2016 when it was 70% NGH nurse bank and 30% agency.
3. 117 registered nurses from within the trust recruited to our nurse bank (exceeding the target of 100)
4. 23 registered nurses not employed by the trust recruited to our nurse bank (compared to 10 during 2014-2015)
5. A 5% decrease in the number of formal complaints against an 11% increase in the number of patient contacts
1. Cost of campaign amounted to £7.5k to cover costs of bus advertising and print collateral
2. RN agency costs of £650k in October 2015 (10.6% of total RN expenditure and 121k above the required trajectory). By August 2016 RN agency costs were down to £125k in month.
3. A 5% decrease in the number of formal complaints against an 11% increase in the number of patient contacts
4. Ward sisters reported
In September 2015 the communications team at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (NGH) was tasked with developing a campaign to recruit 100 registered nurses to our nurse bank, to help reduce registered nurse agency spend. We specifically targeted our own staff because, in addition to financial benefits, we were keen to improve the consistency of care provided to our patients.
We recognised this could be best achieved by encouraging our own substantive registered nurses to join our nurse bank in preference to working for an external agency.
Before embarking on our campaign we held focus groups with substantive registered nurses and agency staff, as well as staffside representatives to understand which messages would most resonate with our intended target audiences.
Key factors identified were:
1. Support with revalidation and free clinical skills training would be a motivator for and incentive for agency staff to join our nurse bank
2. The introduction of weekly pay would be a considerable incentive staff for our staff to join the nurse bank
3. Staff were more likely to join the nurse bank if they could be sure they would work any additional shifts on their own ward
4. Shift standardisation could present opportunities for staff to be more amenable to bank shifts
5. Concern from staffside that some staff may work long hours
We worked with staffside colleagues, nursing, finance and HR to ensure the issues raised were addressed before we launched our campaign, a significant element of which was the introduction of weekly pay as we realised this would be a considerable incentive. We also introduced clinical skills training and support for revalidation. Working with staffside colleagues we agreed a trigger on hours worked that would flag when substantive staff were seeking to book bank shifts that exceeded the trigger.
We used our own nurses to be the faces and authentic voices of our campaign, talking about the benefits of joining our nurse bank and how it worked for them. Two nurses volunteered to appear on our campaign collateral. The strapline ‘Join our bank and we’ll invest in you’ was integral to the campaign as support with revalidation and free clinical skills training were key motivators for nurses to join the bank.
We identified that social media would be a key tactical element of the campaign, allowing us to reach nurses who are traditionally a hard to reach group as they have limited access to email and our intranet. The aim was to allow nurses to access information using their own mobile device at a time to suit them.
All our communications signposted our Love Nursing Love Northampton webpage, which was bolstered with information about the benefits of joining the nurse bank and included a link to the application form on NHS Jobs. Opportunities for seasonal messages, such as earning a little extra for Christmas and saving for summer holidays were used to keep the campaign messaging fresh and relevant.
The ‘face’ of the campaign was also refreshed and, taking account of feedback we had received, we used an older employee as our first ‘face’ was a younger, more recently qualified nurse. We are currently preparing our third ‘face’ who will be a male nurse. We supported the social media campaign with targeted advertising on bus routes around the town which served the areas where the majority of our staff live.
Registered nurse agency costs amounted to £650k in October 2015 (10.6% of total registered nurse expenditure and £121k above the required trajectory.
By August 2016 registered nurse agency costs were down to £125k in month. During the period October 2015 – April 2016 we saw a 5% decrease in the number of formal complaints against an 11% increase in the number of patient contacts Feedback from our ward sisters is that their ability to deliver high quality, safe patient care has been improved as a result of the higher number of NGH-based registered nurses who now form the majority of our nurse bank. Their reliance on agency staff has considerably reduced, as has the expenditure.
For our patients this means they receive consistency of care both in terms of the staff they see every day who deliver care that is aligned to the trust’s core values. An added benefit of the campaign is that we have also increased the number of registered nurses on our bank who are not substantive employees of the trust. Our social media campaign reached more than 36k people via Facebook with 2,000 post clicks.
Our video on Facebook had a retention rate of 17% (research from Nielsen and Facebook shows this will have had a significant lift on recall and awareness of up to 74%).
The cost of the campaign amounted to £7.5k as follows: High impact 8 week campaign using rear bus advertising£5k Flyers/banners/posters/cards £1.5k Targeted social media advertising £0.5k Promotional stress reliever pigs £0.5k Against campaign costs of £7.5k we have seen agency expenditure reduce by as much as £500k a month.