A Look Inside: The Perry and OSF HealthCare Integration Journey (Part 2)

4/30/2021 - Princeton, Illinois

  • A Look Inside: The Perry and OSF HealthCare Integration Journey (Part 2)

Planning efforts to bring Perry Memorial Hospital into OSF HealthCare as OSF HealthCare Saint Clare Medical Center are continuing forward, with the official switchover expected to occur on July 1, 2021. 

OSF HealthCare has a goal to transform and shape the workforce of the future. As of April 9, 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor projected health care employment would grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Jillian Nordstrom, Human Resource Business Partner, believes Perry employees will learn unique skills because of the integration with OSF. “The new skillsets will lead to a variety of career options and advancement opportunities with a larger company.”

Nurses play a critical role in providing high quality patient care and supporting patients’ overall health care experience. “Our nursing team has found the connection and collaboration with our OSF colleagues to be very positive and encouraging,” said Debora May-Rickard, vice president of nursing at Perry. “Many of our nurses already have a bachelor of science or even master of science in nursing, and their excitement about the future is building.”

Most nursing careers begin in a medical-surgical role which offers diverse settings and patient care levels. Often the opportunity to strengthen nursing skills includes how to prioritize and organize their work. The development of interpersonal and critical thinking skills is essential to quality patient care in specialized settings. Specialty nursing skills often take up to eight months of training, sometimes longer, for one nurse to know how to perform with proficiency.

“Working with OSF HealthCare will enhance patient care for the communities we serve,” said May-Rickard. “Our training time will decrease, and resources like the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center will strengthen our nursing teams.”

OSF has a Regional Nurse Pool which will provide a resource of experienced specialty nurses and surgical staff as needed. “Often our current surgery volume does not offer consistent full-time training opportunities, and we have to defer to costly agency services," explains Lisa Ackerman, director of outpatient and surgical service. The OSF Nurse Pool will give nurses additional exposure and education to cases, surgeons, and doctors. The nurses will benefit from developing a broad skill set with the experience to match and enable Perry to overcome challenges it faced in offering specialty and surgical services as a standalone hospital.

Embracing the change to become a Mission Partner (employee) of OSF HealthCare is growing amongst the Perry team members.

"Initially, I saw the Perry team being very cautious and some were even nervous, as questions were asked about the integration,” said Nordstrom. “The transparency of OSF responses has helped our employees trust OSF and the integration process. Perry team members are beginning to learn about benefit programs, including pay. Additionally, we are seeing that OSF truly values and prioritizes work-life harmony. It is a huge win for everyone.”

Perry is sixty days away (as of May 1) from integrating into OSF HealthCare, which was named by Forbes magazine as one of the best employers for women in 2020. Forbes also recognized OSF as one of the best employers in the country for 2018 and 2019, the highest-ranked Illinois-based health care system earning the distinction. Additionally, Becker’s Healthcare has named OSF to its 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare list for 2019.

In June, we will feature primary care and the importance of care teams.