In case you didn’t know, the nursing industry is in crisis.
The pandemic has proven that nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and we need them now more than ever. The American Nurses Association projects that by 2022, there will be more registered nurse (RN) jobs available than any other profession, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the need for 1.1 million new registered nurses to avoid the shortage.
This significant uptick in healthcare worker demand was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving U.S. medical institutions in dire need of more professionals to meet patients’ needs.
Dr Iman Abuzeid, CEO and co-founder of the nurse hiring platform Incredible Health, is not only working to help hospitals meet this demand but she’s also aiming to dismantle disparities in health tech while doing it.
Abuzeid has had deep insight into the complexities of healthcare for most of her life. Her father and brothers are brilliant surgeons. She also hails from a line of entrepreneurs—both of her grandfathers are successful business owners in Sudan. Naturally, the issue of staff shortages was commonplace conversation in her household. After becoming a doctor with the aim to help patients, she realized her interests reached beyond the goal of providing individual care. Instead, she held a larger vision of bridging significant care gaps and solving systemic problems that impact the healthcare industry on a global scale.
“During my time in medical school, I came to realize that while one-on-one patient care was great, I wanted to make a greater scalable impact on entire health systems,” Abuzeid said in a statement. “I went on to pursue opportunities that allowed me to do that. Whether it was my time in management consulting doing hospital operations and strategy, getting my MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania or leading product management at an early stage healthcare technology company, these were all opportunities for me to gain skills to make a huge, scalable impact. The ultimate version of making an impact was founding Incredible Health, where our vision is to help healthcare professionals live better lives.”
COVID-19 completely pulled the curtain back on a long-standing issue that Abuzeid knew all too well for a while.
“People are living longer, so even without COVID-19 happening we were always going to find ourselves in this predicament,” Abuzeid told ESSENCE. “This platform is getting the healthcare workers to the communities that were most affected by COVID-19 much faster.”
The average length of time to fill just one RN position is about 82 days. But it’s not unusual for the process to take 90 days or more depending on the specialty area.
Abuzeid said that Incredible Health has cut the hiring process down to 21 days.
Trusted by more than 350 hospitals and health systems, including HCA, Kaiser Permanente, Baylor Scott & White and Cedars-Sinai and many others, Incredible Health helps nurses find their next permanent role, and employers hire permanent, qualified candidates in less than half the time.
At the end of 2019, Incredible Health was only serving health systems in Texas and California. Now they operate in 14 states across the country. They also deepened their presence within Texas and California, the states with the most registered nurses and hospital beds in the U.S., to help fully realize the vision of transforming nurse hiring. Fifty percent of all hospital beds in both Texas and California are in facilities that hire permanent nurses with Incredible Health. The platform also serves 65 percent and 70 percent of the hospital beds in Los Angeles and Dallas, respectively.
The number of nurses that are a part of the Incredible Health network has grown by more than 800 percent in the past 18 months, with thousands of nurses securing permanent roles. On average, the platform saves each hospital client at least $2M per year per facility in travel nurse, overtime and HR costs.
Hospitals send an interview request every four minutes on the platform, flipping the script and giving healthcare workers unprecedented control over their careers.
“We’re honored that so many top hospitals trust Incredible Health with one of their most important drivers of success: hiring enough permanent nurses to deliver high-quality patient care,” said Abuzeid in a statement on the company’s website.
Although COVID-19 has ravaged most startups, it has significantly “accelerated” business growth for Incredible Health, Abuzeid shared. The platform is also being used by 60 percent of U.S. hospitals and, due to the light shed on racial disparities in healthcare during the pandemic, there has been more interest in Incredible Health from investors.
“We’d already raised about $17 million in funding before last year or the year before, but I’ve definitely seen significantly more interest since the social uprising last summer,” Abuzeid shared. “I don’t think it’s because of my race, it’s because of the growth of the company, but it definitely doesn’t hurt that people are paying even more attention to Black founders.”
Although the company has been growing at an exponential rate, Abuzeid knows how it feels to be the underdog, especially as a minority entrepreneur.
“There are some pretty strong biases out there for Black founders, but you need to compartmentalize that information because it won’t help you when you need to “sell” the idea of your business to investors or even your customers,” Abuzeid said. “ Don’t let those numbers quell confidence.”