We loved chatting with Annie Giagni, Chief Nursing Officer at Exceptional Community Hospital – Maricopa, a small, micro hospital located in rural Maricopa, AZ. The hospital is the only healthcare facility in the city of Maricopa open 24/7 with an ER, in a city with a population of about 70,000 people, so needless to say, they stay busy.  

Annie and her team started using Medely this year because due to their location, size, and the fact that they are mostly an emergency room requiring nurses to have ER experience, they have had some staffing difficulties. They turned to Medely to help support their staff. 

“Staffing in nursing in general has been difficult to fill all voids anywhere, let alone in a small hospital,” said Annie. “We found out about Medely through a colleague who had worked some shifts through Medely and suggested we look into it. It’s been great for us.” 

Annie said Medely has allowed them to fill a lot of their holes, and helped them to create a small group of nurses that pick up regularly when they post shifts on the platform. 

“We’ve got confidence in their abilities, and we’ve added them to our favorites, so we’re able to get them here on a regular basis.”

She added, “A couple of them have been so happy with our facility that they have started sharing with their friends. The phrase that one of them used on a social media platform is that we are a ‘diamond in the rough,’ and it actually triggered a couple applications to fill our full-time spots.

“We’re super excited, it’s been working as a really great way to get the word out about our facility and what we do. We’ve been more than thrilled with using you guys,” said Annie.

Check out our full interview with CNO, Annie Giagni, and learn more about this Arizona facility that’s a true “diamond in the rough” below.

Q: First, let’s learn a little bit about your background. How did you get into healthcare? 

A: “I have an aunt that was a cardiac OR nurse for many years. When I was a teenager, I visited her, and she asked if I wanted to scrub in on open heart surgery with her, and I scrubbed in and I loved it. That’s what did it for me. I was like, ‘I want to be in healthcare.’

“It’s a pretty gnarly, gruesome surgery, and it’s long – I saw a triple bypass. This was about 20 years ago, and it really sparked something in me where I was like, ‘healthcare is something I want to be doing.’”  

Annie Giagni, Chief Nursing Officer, Exceptional Community Hospital – Maricopa

Q: What makes you proud to work at Exceptional Community Hospital – Maricopa?

A: “We’re kind of the pioneers for hospital here in Maricopa. We’re the first hospital here in the town. I am a member of the community, my parents are members of the community, and my children go to school here. In December, it will be 2 years, and being a part of the growth of the community we live in, also providing the community much-needed services is what I’m really proud of.”

Q: What kind of patient care do you provide there? 

A: “We are an 8-bed ER, which is mostly where we have our staffing issues. We also have a 9-bed inpatient unit. Since our location is pretty rural, and we’re the only immediate healthcare in our town open 24/7 with an ER, about 31 miles away from another facility, we stay pretty busy, and because of our size and our location, we have limited resources.”

Since their facility is mostly ER, they do have to require that their nursing team has 1-2 years of ER experience. In the past, they have had a difficult time finding staff, especially when they weren’t able to vet the experience some nurses said they had before they came to the hospital to work. Medely gives her peace of mind.

 “The way that you guys go through your hiring process on your platform and the vetting process has made it easy for us to trust that your nurses have the experience that they say they have,” said Annie.

“It’s been really easy, and we definitely have confidence in the nurses that are coming to us with ER experience, which is not something we’ve been able to really say with a different platform that we tried.”

“One of the nurses told me that they are only able to see shifts for departments that they have experience in, or that they are approved to pick up, and we’ve really appreciated that.”

Plus, Annie said, “it’s been very hard to find people who are willing to give us a chance. It’s been great to utilize Medely because it’s a way for people to pick up one shift and see if they like it.”

Q: It seems like the people that go to your facility through Medely stay, and that helps you build your internal pool.

A: “They stay, they have been routinely picking up, we’ve had really great consistency with that and that’s crucial for us. We are so small that the nursing leadership team is the one setting them up with access on their first day, getting them oriented, but it’s been really nice building that group of favorites that we know are ready to go, they’re already in our system, they know what our expectations are and when I see them pick up a shift, it’s a nice, comforting feeling of, ‘Oh, that nurse picked up, great!’

“I really like that your platform allows for us to open shifts exclusively to our favorites. Onboarding a new person is challenging because of our small staffing model. So, now that we’ve built up our favorites, it’s been really nice just to offer those shifts up to them exclusively.”

Exceptional Community Hospital – Maricopa was using Medely to post shifts for per diem nurses, but they have now expanded the shifts they’re looking to fill and just posted their first 6-8 week assignment.

Q: So, it sounds like Medely is helping you expand who you’re looking to book for your facility? 

A: “It’s the first time we’ve decided we need more than just per diem help right now, and wanted some consistency with 2-3 days a week.

“It’s nice because we know that the people who are applying for it have the credentials that we need, so it takes that stress off of our plate of having to do that part of the legwork. It’s just talking to them and making sure that they’re comfortable with the location and the environment here and getting them onboarded to do an assignment here.”

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about using Medely? 

A: “How quickly people pick up shifts. I didn’t know what to expect going into it and within the first 2 weeks of using it, we had a couple people picking up more than one shift that we posted, and very quickly got them in for some brief orientation.”

Q: How would you describe the professionals you’ve booked through Medely? 

A: “I know that nurses that travel or pick up per diem assignments are definitely more adaptable because they’re used to new environments on a regular basis, but I think it really surprised me how quickly they learn and pick up and jump right in. Some of them were more comfortable with a brief overview of the layout of the hospital, where to find things, logins, and they were ready to roll. “

“They come with a lot of confidence in their own nursing ability. Obviously with Medely’s thorough vetting process, they can execute those things with confidence and my staff doesn’t have to try to support them in their actual nursing skill – just the nuances of our facility that differ from other facilities that they have to navigate, but they’re all very quick at picking up our nuances here.”

Q: Has using Medely professionals impacted the quality of care you provide at Exceptional Community Hospital – Maricopa?

A: “We’re staffed!

“We’re able to staff our shifts. We’re not working short. Our nurses that we have full-time or part-time with us here are feeling more supported because we are able to fill those gaps, so they’re not getting as burnt out. We have support when there’s a call out, we’re usually able to get another Medely nurse in to pick up.”

Or because we are otherwise fully staffed it’s easier for our current PRN staff to want to pick up knowing that they’re going to be on a shift with a supported, seasoned nurse. 

“I think it’s really helping our culture here. People want to come work here because they feel supported, because we are listening to their needs after the staffing issues that we’ve been having. The fact that we’ve been able to implement this change to support the nurses working in the trenches, has just been a noticeable uplift for the team here.”

Q: Is there anything I haven’t covered that you would want to add?

A: “Just the customer service and support that you guys offer. There’s been so much reaching out and touching base from the team of people working for Medely making sure that we know how to use the platform. They’re available to answer any questions that come up as we navigate the system. If anything that we’re not understanding comes up, the response time has been amazing, so that’s another aspect that we’ve enjoyed is just knowing that we’re going to get a quick response to something we don’t understand.”

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

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