The Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (ACVP) and Healthworks, Inc., have entered into a collaborative agreement whereby Healthworks will serve as a resource to the ACVP, providing educational services for ACVP-sponsored education programs for individuals preparing to take their professional credentialing examinations. These programs, offered by the ACVP to all hospitals and their staffs, assist allied health professionals such as specialty nurses and technologists prepare to take a variety of rigorous exams designed to demonstrate their competency in a range of invasive and/or non-invasive subjects including cardiology and vascular imaging.
The new relationship between Healthworks and ACVP underscores the workforce paradox that persists in today’s healthcare industry: there is an ever-increasing regulatory climate demanding health practitioners to be registered, credentialed and/or licensed to perform their general duties, coupled with the fact there exists a severe shortage of qualified health professionals. Some reports indicate that nursing vacancy levels range from 10-25% in certain hospital specialty units, for instance. It is this dilemma that is forcing hospital administrators and department managers to redouble their recruitment and retention activities, ultimately driving up the cost of services provided.
A wide variety of experts and organizations have studied the cost of healthcare staff turnover, and while no definitive study has detailed the exact figure, it is generally accepted that the cost to replace a healthcare worker ranges from 1.5 to 2.2 times that individual’s salary. (1) For technical professionals working in cardiovascular settings, this turnover cost translates into an estimated $97,500 - $140,000 per person. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics there were more that 43,000 cardiovascular technologists and technicians as of May 2005.
Increasingly, employee-sponsored education programs have been found to play an important role in retaining and motivating a company’s workforce, demonstrating measurable reduction in employee turnover and attrition. For example, a recent article on hospitalconnect.com by Vicki Lauter, president of recruiting firm Z=mc2, highlights the critical importance of personnel training as a means of holding on to good employees. In her article, Ms. Lauter cites an example of a Oklahoma-based medical facility keeps its turnover rate at 8% - a figure considered low for hospitals - due to “strong internal training programs.” (2)
Toby J. Cullen, AS, AST, RCIS, vice president of education at Healthworks, states that “institutions that recognize the retention value of education invest in these types of resources for their staff,” reporting that many of the company’s clients are repeat customers. She continued, “Our relationship with ACVP expands the positive impact, such as improved team morale based on improved knowledge, that often accompanies the provision of these educational programs.”
ACVP executive director Peggy McElgunn states, “Our goal is to continually increase the types of relevant services we offer our growing membership. This relationship helps us do just that,” adding that ACVP members and their institutions “not only improve their quality of staff – through credentials – but also demonstrate to their commitment to their staff, who will appreciate the support of their profession.” Ms. McElgunn noted that credentialing exams are typically administered by independent third-party organizations such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
About the Alliance for Cardiovascular Professionals. The ACVP is a national membership organization of over 3,000 individuals specializing in all areas of the cardiovascular practice, including echocardiography, invasive, noninvasive, and cardiopulmonary. The non-profit society represents all levels of practice: administrators, managers, supervisors, nurses, technologists and technicians. The ACVP is headquartered in Mithlodian, VA. Visit them at acp-online.org or call 804-632-0078.
About Healthworks, Inc. Healthworks (healthworksonline.cc) is a private Healthcare Professional Practice Organization based in Douglassville, PA, engaged in the contract for provision of certain clinical specialty personnel in healthcare settings. The company, founded in 1997, offers per diem staffing, service contract and comprehensive departmental outsourcing, as well as consulting and education services in the areas of invasive and non-invasive cardiology, electrophysiology, radiology and specialty nursing. For more information, visit the company online or call toll-free at 1-866-495-7462.
(1)Tanner, Anne. “Professional Staff Education, Quantifying Costs and Outcomes,” Journal of Nursing Administration, Vol. 32, No. 2, February 2002.
(2) Lauter, Vicki Z. “The Many Ways to Hold onto Good Employees,” hospitalconnect.com, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/29/06, (hhnmag.com).