Policy Resource

Florida Undertakes Multiple Strategies to Retain Home Visiting Staff

Feb 9, 2016

Learn how Florida is using a grant to began providing mindfulness-based stress reduction training to front-line staff in 2016.

Florida Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) leadership has sent a clear message to Local Implementing Agencies (LIAs) that recruitment and retention of staff are critical goals, and pointed out that high staff retention is linked to high family retention. Staff retention is seen as a reflection of the staff recruitment process, the training and orientation provided to staff, quality supervision, and other supports that programs can offer staff to keep staff committed to the program. The relationship between the state and LIAs and the partnership both have with the evidence-based home visiting models are also factors in retention. During the start-up period, the state MIECHV staff allowed the LIAs time to find the right constellation of staff and provided staffing data so that vacancies could be resolved promptly. The state MIECHV team works with each LIA to develop their own staffing plan to best meet the needs of the LIA and community it serves, and that meets the expectations of the model.

Recruitment and retention of nurse home visitors proved to be a bigger challenge than anticipated due to Floridas critical shortage of nurses, Tampas small pool of public health nurses, non-competitive salaries, and competition with Medicaid managed care companies. Creative ideas emerged. LIAs hire a part-time nurse to help with enrollment and to cover during staff vacations or maternity leave. Local nursing schools place nursing students at LIAs for their clinical experience. LIAs include data on staff retention in their monthly state reports. In addition, the annual report with benchmark data includes a metric on staff retention. The state MIECHV team leaders conduct joint site visits with the model representatives.

Through a grant, the state began providing mindfulness-based stress reduction training to front-line staff in 2016. The state is looking at whether being in the moment, practicing meditation, and taking care of self will be internalized by staff and in turn increase their job satisfaction.

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