Initially, the prospect of merging Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, N.J., into Meridian’s multihospital system seemed daunting, said Desiree Adinolfi, RN, a med/surg nurse at Bayshore.
But apprehension turned into positive energy and needed change as the merger progressed, and Bayshore became the sixth hospital in Meridian’s Monmouth and Ocean counties system.
“With the merger immediately came tuition reimbursement. As a registered nurse, this allows me to enhance my education further,” Adinolfi said. “The encouragement from leadership for education has made a tremendous impact on me to take the initiative to be proficient in my field of expertise.”
September marked a year since the merger, and Bayshore nurses continue to reap the benefits, said Linda Walsh, RN, MSN, CEN, Bayshore’s vice president of nursing.
“The first thing that we were able to do with our merger with Meridian was to make a commitment to financial support for nursing education and development,” Walsh said. “Prior to that, there was a lack of financial support for national certification, for clinical recognition programs, i.e., clinical ladders.”
Among the many new directions in nursing: making clinical specialists part of the nursing leadership team and moving them from a separate office to individual nurse units. To further nurse development, Bayshore nurses have gained free access to leadership courses and no longer have to pay for national specialized nursing certifications.
“We’re in the process of formulating a professional practice committee, which will then give nurses input into governing their own practices,” Walsh said.
Some nurses saw automatic pay raises with the merger, if their wages were under market according to Meridian pay scales.
“Nurses want to be excellent,” Walsh said. “They’re really taking advantage of what we’ve put in place.”
Before the merger, the national certification rate among nurses at Bayshore was 26% or 72 nurses. Under the Meridian umbrella, 35 nurses have been supported financially to renew their certifications and 13 more have become certified, bringing certification to 30%.
Walsh said the next step for Bayshore nurses is working toward and achieving Magnet status.