Interior Health serves a large geographic area covering almost 215,000 square kilometres of inland British Columbia. The Interior Health Authority (IHA) is finding it increasingly difficult to retain and recruit nurses and other health care providers. To meet this challenge, the IHA partnered with the British Columbia Nurses’ Union (BCNU), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), senior management of the Royal Inland Hospital (RIH), and the BC Ministry of Health. Given the current vacancy rate, an aging workforce and imminent retirements, the partners determined to pilot a retention and recruitment initiative to address the nursing shortage.
An innovative 80/20 staffing model, developed by the University Health Network in Toronto (Bournes and Ferguson-Paré, 2007), was adapted for Interior Health’s RIH. The RIH is a primary acute care facility and the major health care employer in Kamloops, a city of approximately 85,000 residents. The 80/20 model has been effectively implemented in a large urban hospital in Toronto, but not yet in a smaller rural centre like the RIH. The model allows nurses to spend 80% of salaried time in direct patient care and 20% in other activities that will enhance patient care, like professional development and mentoring. Implementation of the 80/20 staffing model has been shown to enhance nurses’ satisfaction with their practice and to respond to calls for patientcentred care.