The healthcare industry employs more than 14 million Americans. In Oklahoma, nearly 10 percent of the population occupies a healthcare-related role.

“Hospital employees, regardless of their specific roles, have a strong feeling that they are part of a team that delivers a critical service and touches the lives of thousands,” says Page Bachman, corporate vice president of St. John Health System.

“The icing on the cake is that (healthcare) work is generally very stable employment, with many opportunities for advancement and diversification.”

Stability and opportunity are key. As the economy ebbs and flows, the healthcare industry continues to grow and, as competition increases, local medical facilities are tasked with maintaining quality staff.

Oklahoma’s leading healthcare centers are responding with new incentive programs that demonstrate a vested interest in both personal and professional development. Employees are being offered improved benefits like tuition assistance, onsite childcare, private counseling and even adoption assistance.

St. John Health System – with 6,400 employees – offers tenure-based service awards, professional counseling and access to the Chapman Child Learning Center, an on-site childcare facility accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In addition to on-site childcare services, institutions like Saint Francis Health System now offer comprehensive adoption assistance. Eligible Saint Francis employees can receive up to $8,000 for the process. 

“There are 7,600 employees working in this Catholic healthcare system,” says Amy B. Adams, executive director of human resources at Saint Francis. She believes they’re drawn to the hospital’s faith-based mission and that competitive offerings help attract compassionate medical professionals.
Opportunities for higher education remain popular incentives as well. Prime examples include those at OU Medical Center and Hillcrest HealthCare System.

According to Hillcrest HealthCare System president and CEO Kevin Gross, much of the hospital’s appeal lies in providing opportunity for “continuing education and professional advancement.”

Hillcrest provides 5,300 employees with annual scholarships and free review courses for the NCLEX exams, which are required for licensure of practical and registered nurses. Meanwhile, OU Medical Center offers annual scholarships and specialty student loan programs to its 4,300 employees.

“For the state and region, based on our size, complexity and the wide-ranging influences and expertise of academia, we are able to offer experiences that are unique in our geographic area,” says Laura Land, chief human resources officer at OU Medical Center.

Other incentive programs rely on more direct financial motivation. The Employee Referral Program at INTEGRIS Health offers current employees monetary bonuses when they provide personnel referrals that lead to a successful hire – a significant investment with more than 9,600 employees.
Russ Miller, the system talent manager at INTEGRIS Health, says this approach helps maintain an “ongoing relationship with all employees past the onboarding stage of employment.”

Clearly, it’s about keeping it personal. Healthcare professionals have let it be known: On the job, they expect personal assistance, personal fulfillment and a personal relationship with their leaders and team. Oklahoma’s hospitals and healthcare officials are making it happen, with proposals of stability and opportunity.

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