houston innovators podcast episode 148
Houston innovator tackles growing nursing shortages with startup platform
The past few years have been challenging for health care workers, and even before the pandemic, hospital systems were facing a nursing shortage, says Benjamin Foster on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.
It was during Hurricane Harvey that Foster, leading human resources at Gulf Coast Division at the time, saw a huge need for an alternative to hiring short-term nurses quickly. That's when he had the idea for Nurseify, a platform that allows for nurses to find jobs — and for facilities to find nurses with the specialties they need. The platform is now live in five pilot states — Texas, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Nevada.
"Part of the reason those are our pilot states is those are states that are projected to have five of the top 10 nursing shortages," Foster says on the show. "We also see a lot of seasonality in those states. If there are certain periods of time where patient volume increases a lot, you need to bring in more nurses."
Now, having launched, Foster says he's focused on growing density in those regions — for both the facility side and the nursing side — so that there are more opportunities for users of the platform.
Nurses are facing a significant amount of burnout — in part due to what they went through during the pandemic, but also because of the stressful work environments due to hiring misalignment. Foster says he's intentionally designed the platform to be supportive of nurses.
"We want Nurseify to be known as the most nurse-friendly company in the world. We believe we can bridge the gap between administration and operations and nurses," Foster says. "We want Nurseify to become a verb at some point."
In addition to being a marketplace for nurses and health care facilities, Foster says he is staying completely tapped into ways to provide resources and support for the user base — which, statistically, is a primarily female industry.
"Nurses are worn out because we've asked them to work so much during the pandemic, and I would argue that as an industry, we have not done enough to protect them," he says. "We want to be a voice for that."
Foster shares more on the future of Nurseify and the difference his platform is making in the industry on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.