Friday, June 12, 2015

Dr. Abercrombie Named Chair of National Task Force

Dr. Stoney Abercrombie, Director of Medical Education at AnMed Health, has been selected to chair the national, 11-member Society for the Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Task Force on Faculty for Tomorrow. This two-year task force (May 2015 through June 2017) will develop curriculum and programs for residents who desire to be faculty as well as practicing family physicians, especially those who may be contemplating teaching at a residency program.

There have been over 25 new family medicines residencies established in the past couple years. There is a critical shortage of family medicine faculty nationally and this task force will address the issue of recruitment and retention of family medicine faculty.

For more information on the task force, please visit

Lowcountry AHEC Cuts Ribbon at New Building

South Carolina AHEC System staff members, Lowcountry AHEC board members and members of the Walterboro and Colleton County communities gathered on May 20 for Lowcountry AHEC's ribbon cutting and open house. The new building is 5,300 square feet and the building includes: a 1,000 square foot classroom/training center, 300 square foot conference room and over 80 parking spaces. Both training/meeting rooms have up-to-date technology including videoconferencing capabilities. The new Lowcountry AHEC office is conveniently located in Walterboro, the center of the twelve county service area. The ten staff members are enjoying their new space. 

Congratulations to Lowcountry AHEC onthe new building that will further the work they are doing in their counties and communities.

Hospital Job Prospects for RNs Look Promising

A recent study of the nursing workforce in South Carolina hospitals shows that the labor market for registered nurses (RNs) is tightening up. Chief nursing officers in South Carolina acute-care hospitals were asked to assess the local labor market for nursing personnel in their area and to describe how their nursing workforce needs are changing. Eighty percent of eligible hospitals responded to the survey.

Like most employers, hospitals would prefer to hire experienced employees, but 88 percent of hospitals report that finding experienced RNs is becoming difficult.  Hospitals have also been hiring new RN graduates – 23 percent expect that new graduate hiring will be greater this year than last.

When asked about specific types of nursing personnel, most hospitals said that recruitment was no more difficult this year than last. However, 47 percent of hospitals that utilize clinical nurse specialists said they were becoming more difficult to find; 38 percent of hospitals said staff RNs were becoming more difficult to recruit; and 35 percent of hospitals were experiencing recruitment difficulties with nurse aides.   In the Upstate region of the state, 73 percent of hospitals reported difficulty recruiting nurse aides.

Some of the tightening in the RN labor market is due to the growth in new roles for nurses. As healthcare delivery models change to focus on primary care and better coordination of care, nurses are being utilized in new ways. More than half of hospitals said that they had created new roles for patient care coordinators and patient navigators in the past year. These new roles are focused on helping patients coordinate their care across multiple physicians or care settings, such as when moving from the hospital to rehabilitation and then back home.

A significant number of hospitals also expect to increase employment levels for different types of nurses during 2015. Fifty percent of hospitals expect to add new jobs for nurse practitioners; 40 percent expect to add new staff RN positions and 40 percent expect to add new jobs for nurse aides and assistants. Between 10 percent and 27 percent of hospitals responding to the study also expect to add jobs for nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, managers and administrators, nurse educators, clinical nurse leaders, and clinical nurse specialists. The only type of nursing personnel likely to see fewer hospital jobs is licensed practical nurses (LPNs): 36 percent of hospitals expect employment levels to decrease for LPNs in 2015.

This study was a collaborative effort between the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning in the South Carolina AHEC program office and the Office of Healthcare Workforce Research for Nursing in the University of South Carolina College of Nursing. The full study report, titled The Hospital Nursing Workforce in South Carolina: 2015, can be found on the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning website at for healthcare

The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning, part of the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium at the Medical University of South Carolina, is funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment.  Located in Charlotte, NC, the Duke Endowment seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children’s services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded more than $3 billion in grants.

Now Available Online: A How-To for South Carolina PA's: Communities and Practices Join the Obesity Fight

To register, visit the SCHOOLS website.

New to AHEC U: AHEC U Moves to New Portal

In order to better serve our customers, AHEC U is changing service providers.  Beginning May 27, please visit the new web address ( to access the log in page. User IDs and passwords for existing participants will continue to allow access to AHEC U. Remember to bookmark the new address. Thank you for your patience as we transition to a new system that will better serve your needs. If you have any issues or questions accessing the new system, please call Upstate AHEC at 864-349-1160.