In the spring of 2023, the staffing numbers representing caregiving professionals in long-term care were bleak: centers across the country had lost more than 400,000 professional caregivers. Nearly 55 percent of nursing homes are facing limited admissions due to low staff numbers. More than 60 percent of nursing homes fear workforce challenges will force them to close. In turn, advocates like AHCA/NCAL and providers across the nation are fighting for change. PharMerica is right there with them.

Lisa Bowen“Supporting nurses and direct care workers is a health system imperative as it represents a significant risk of workforce shortages with consequences for quality of care and sustainability of our long-term support system,” said Lisa Bowen, vice president of marketing at PharMerica. “Nurses and direct care workers are in high demand, subjected to long and demanding work hours and exhausting conditions with little opportunity for respite or time to foster their own well-being.”

PharMerica took a new approach through the development of a nurse advancement program that supports directors of nursing (DONs) and other nurse leaders in long-term and post-acute care by providing needed resources and education and ensuring all nurses know that the industry understands their challenges.

“We hope all nurses know they have a voice with us, and we want them to join in on the conversation about how to best support them and move forward in an ever-evolving sector,” said Bowen.

PharMerica’s Partners in Nurse Advancement program is a trail-blazing partnership among nurse leader organizations, including NADONA, AALNA, and others, with the goal of providing critical information and insights for DONs and clinical consultants for enhanced outcomes, care excellence, and a bright future for nurses.

“Together, we are stronger and can work to increase the knowledgebase of DONs, nurses, direct care workers, and med techs with education and clinical programs that provide advanced learning opportunities,” Bowen said. “It’s a growing relationship with all of our partners.  For example, our partnership with NADONA began 15 years ago working on different projects like scholarships to advance the nursing profession.”

Partners in Nurse Advancement is primarily a digital platform that offers webinars, documentation of best practices, handouts, and worksheets featuring timely tips and solutions. There are video and podcast interviews with leaders in the industry who are bringing innovation to the field.

The content is created in response to feedback directly from the field. PharMerica conducts regular surveys via its social platforms, performs market research, gains insights from ongoing customer feedback surveys, and asks their partners’ members and boards of directors for real-time data and information about the pain points, top challenges, and what is keeping them up at night. This information is then translated by PharMerica’s team and partners into easily accessed content housed primarily on the PharMerica website.

For instance, when CMS required centers to implement Phase 3 CMS surveyor guidance in October 2022, PharMerica turned to their partner NADONA to understand where their DONs needed more support on the new requirements. As a result of that feedback, PharMerica created a series of webinars and developed a comprehensive compliance guide that became its most-downloaded asset of the year.

Similarly, PharMerica works with internal experts to understand the dynamics in the market and what facilities want or need to know to stay current with the latest developments in care and compliance.

“We meet with our clinical leadership every other week,” said Susan Reardon, director of marketing. “These leaders share feedback from the field about where facilities are struggling. There may be areas of regulatory oversight they’re particularly concerned with, for example, or it could be staffing challenges or infection prevention. We use these meetings to inform the webinars and other resources we develop for facilities. Based on this input, in the past few months, we developed an ebook on trauma informed care, a compliance guide on substance abuse disorder, and a webinar on antibiotic stewardship.”

Now more than ever, with staff turnover and the need to constantly onboard and train, evolving regulatory scrutiny, and DONs wearing so many hats, PharMerica believes that having resources available that are hitting on the most pressing topics facilities are facing today has made its platform a go-to place for providers. Both Bowen and Reardon attribute the success of the program to its partners and their willingness to be candid and transparent about the issues they are facing.

“Our relationships with organizations like NADONA and AALNA highlight what facilities need most and provide sources for relevant, timely content that is defining our Partners in Nurse Advancement program today and further setting us apart as the industry thought leaders,” Bowen said.

To learn more about Partners in Nurse Advancement and register for programs, visit the PharMerica website at Partners in Nurse Advancement - PharMerica.


Read more: Measuring Advancement