Some of our key initiatives include:
Texas Health Resources University
THRU delivers consistently high-quality targeted educational offerings aligned with our core business needs. It provides access to more than 4,500 online learning opportunities, instructor-led classes and workshops, an abundance of self-serve resources and tools, and free books and videos on balancing work/life balance. Every employee systemwide has access and is encouraged to use these resources.
We customize development based on employees' roles, skills and career plans to make learning meaningful and relevant. We map their interests and expertise to internal opportunities and then determine whether additional development is needed to work in a different capacity. We then create a customized learning plan to ease the transition.
To assist with this effort, we launched a cutting-edge talent experience platform in 2020 that helps employees design their career journey. By year-end, 56% of employees had logged in to explore options within Texas Health.
We provide various opportunities, programs and tools to maximize leadership potential, build our leadership pipeline and help us achieve our business goals. We center leadership on key behaviors that we hardwire into our culture, such as accountability, visionary thinking and sound decision-making.
Texas Health reimburses tuition and some recurring fees for approved degree plans that benefit the system or the employee's position. Employees may be reimbursed up to $5,250 per year for clinical degrees and up to $4,000 per year for non-clinical degrees. All full- and part-time benefits-eligible employees can participate. We also reduce the burden of out-of-pocket costs for employees earning less than $40,000 a year by paying for some educational expenses in advance.
Texas Health deploys a performance management program that encourages employees and managers to discuss performance expectations, improvement opportunities and how individual responsibilities support systemwide priorities at any time. This drives real-time clarity of expectations and more immediate refinements.
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Long before COVID-19 entered our state, Texas had a shortage of physicians and nurses, making it difficult to provide care for one of the nation's fastest-growing regions. At the onset of the pandemic, Texas Health had to rapidly hire, onboard and cross-train clinicians to effectively care for the high volume of patients who needed treatment.
Our priority was to keep our workforce safe. We shifted most training and education to online platforms. To onboard new employees and leaders, we quickly developed 21 modules to deliver content virtually. Where in-person instruction was required, we added new workflows to make sure learning environments were safe.
To prepare for a surge of patients, we found ways to optimize the clinical resources we already had. For example, clinical educators paused teaching and began supporting caregiving teams. We also cross-trained registered nurses who had taken on administrative or non-patient care roles and licensed vocational nurses to refreshen their skills so they could work effectively at the bedside.
Building a Physician Pipeline in North Texas
To help address the shortage of physicians in North Texas and increase access to convenient care, Texas Health is increasing our graduate medical education commitments to expand the physician workforce pipeline.
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth was recently approved to begin a general surgery residency program by The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. The first group of surgery residents will begin there in July 2021. Additional physicians will be trained at Texas Health Fort Worth and other Texas Health facilities in specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.
Future growth is planned to include psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation residencies. These programs will roll out over the next three years, eventually adding up to 300 residency positions within Texas Health by 2024. In addition to providing care in urban settings, Texas Health expects residents to rotate to rural and underserved communities.