Genesis HealthCare: Growing Our Own

Genesis HealthCare, one of CareerSTAT’s first Frontline Healthcare Worker Champions, is implementing many of the best practices described in the CareerSTAT Guide to Investing in Frontline Health Care Workers. Debbie Rowe, Vice President of Genesis HealthCare and CareerSTAT Executive Committee-member, describes their innovative pipeline development program.

Genesis HealthCare’s core belief is that our employees are the vital link between Genesis HealthCare and our patients and residents. As one of the nation’s largest skilled nursing care providers, with more than 450 skilled nursing centers and senior/assisted living residences in 30 states nationwide, Genesis employs approximately 70,000 employees, with the majority serving as direct caregivers to approximately 100,000 patient and resident admissions per year. That is why one of our four strategic priorities is to develop and recognize our own employees.

As we commit to excellence, we strive to set the standard for providing excellent clinical care and delivering superior customer service, while recognizing and developing our employees. Genesis HealthCare’s “Grow Our Own” Program, originally started in Maryland and currently expanding across the country, is an integral part of the workforce solution.

Genesis’ “Grow Our Own” is a progressive career path with training support, ranging from Nursing Assistant Certification to Nurse Residency. We created a recruitment structure and presence in the marketplace, developed a progressive career ladder and educated and “up-skilled” our own employees in order to create the future workforce we need.

With a diminished applicant flow, increased agency use, large nurse shortage and increased focus on employee retention, we established on-site CNA Training with a “hire first” strategy. We developed relationships with local nursing schools and programs, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities and local workforce partners.

By actively participating in the Baltimore Alliance for Healthcare Careers, a multi-employer industry partnership, we aligned with workforce partners who offered “essential skills” training, job readiness education, pre-screening and candidate pipelines, coaches and grant funding. It evolved into on-site certified nurse aide training at nursing centers, certified medication assistant training through the local community college and the creation of a Genesis nurse residency program.  We continued the development of Genesis career pathways and it evolved into the first long-term care “Mapping Your Future, a guide to Career Growth in Long-Term Care.”

Through “Grow Our Own,” we have graduated over 5,626 nurse aides since 1999, expanded Nurse Aide training throughout the company and created a nurse residency training program where the participants are past graduates of Nurse Aide training. We continue to offer this unique program; after all, our patients and residents are counting on it.

Debbie Rowe

-- Senior Director, Genesis HealthCare