Skip to content

Episode 37

How to get out of a decision-making funk and executing decisions efficiently – Tips from hyper growth expert April Hansen

Jeff Howell (00:01):

Welcome to Home Health 360, a podcast presented by AlayaCare. I’m your host, Jeff Howell, and this is the show about learning from the best in home healthcare from around the globe.

Jeff Howell (00:18):

Hey everyone, and welcome to another edition of Home Health 360, where we speak with leaders in home care and home health from across the globe. April Hansen is a nurse, a tech entrepreneur, and a hyper-growth business executive who is inspired by everyday leaders who do their work well face human doubts, but find a way to thrive even through chaos. So get this through covid. She’s led the largest deployment of healthcare personnel in the history of the United States, and simultaneously grew her business unit by 900% in two years. Along the way, April has uncovered key insights on the art and science of world class decision making from being a small town nurse to a tech entrepreneur, to an award-winning leader of a multi-billion dollar organization. April has become the nation’s leading expert on employee engagement and hyper-growth leadership, featured by TEDx Forbes and the New York Times. April’s Ideas help leaders fall back in love with Leading Again. April, welcome to the show.

April Hansen (01:20):

Thanks so much, Jeff. It’s so exciting to be here.

Jeff Howell (01:24):

So I have to say, you, you are the first guest from Green Bay, and I did a little bit of fact checking. I believe Green Bay is the smallest market for an N F L team at a hundred thousand people for population, and yet 80,000 of them do go to Packers games. So I’m just wondering, are you in the 80 or the 20

April Hansen (01:43):

? You know, it depends on how cold it is. If you’re in the 20, it makes a lot of sense to go to Costco during the Packer games, , because it’s not busy at all. But typically depending on the weather you may find us tailgating at least down by the stadium or at home sud up by a fire when it is frigid .

Jeff Howell (02:05):

Nice. Well what I do wanna do before we get into any questions is I actually wanted to point the listeners so that they can check out your personal brand as we listen along here. So it’s April Hanson speaks, that’s ap, R a l H A N S E n. I was really drawn in by the videos that you have there. And prior to you speaking at the ELI Care Better Outcomes Conference, that two minute sizzle reel of you speaking was really, it really moved me and I, I was I kind of fell in love with the brand that you have and I suspect that it sort of evolved as going through as a result of being president of IA Healthcare. So everyone, please go check it out. And speaking of ia, so you’re the group president and I think that it’s the largest healthcare staffing company in the United States with about 45,000 clinicians. Give us some context on who is IA and what’s your role there?

April Hansen (03:01):

Absolutely. So I’ve been in love and I, I professed that profoundly. I’ve been in love with the travel nursing industry for years, and I was a travel nurse myself back in my early nursing career and found it to be just in just an incredible experience where I could move around the country and fill needs that other hospitals had with my skills and get to experience a new culture, a new place to live, a new community. And I found it really rewarding and really just kind of a whole person experience that was awesome. And so I fell in love with this industry a long time ago. In 2006, 2007, I started my own travel nurse company just by reading books at Barnes and Noble and teaching myself how to start a business. It was awesome. And then I really went all in in around 2010 to the corporate side of travel nursing.


I worked for a, a large publicly traded healthcare company healthcare staffing company in the United States. And it was a great learning experience for about seven years. I was in a corporate role there, multiple different roles from clinical to quality to sales and solution design for workforce programs for customers across the us really learning a lot. And of course, growing up in a publicly traded company, teaches a nurse a whole lot of things that I never knew around finance and financial management and all this good stuff. In 2017, I joined the IA healthcare organization, and it was a move that, you know, maybe some would call risky. I I was going from a big company to, at that time, a much smaller organization, but I saw this entrepreneurial spirit of this company, really a disruptor in the making in my vetting process of deciding to take this role and, and I could see what was being built from a technology standpoint and really the infrastructure and the platform of the organization, what was being constructed and what the approach with the market and just the thinking, the entrepreneurial thinking inside the company.


It was one of those things where I, I didn’t have to worry about the risk so much. It was like, yes, that looks like me. This company looks like me, it acts like me. It’s how I think the decision made sense. And so I took the leap in 2017 and left a big company to go to what was then a relatively small company compared to my other organization. And it’s been a rocket ship of a journey since that time. So we were just kind of launching our platform and our platform methodology to healthcare staffing. We were really refining and rapidly releasing product in the onset of, of my first couple of years with IA Healthcare. And over the course of that time, the, the pandemic hit and really the culmination of where we were at, and we were already doubling in size every three months in the months leading up to the pandemic.


We were at the right point in the business to help capture the market opportunity and really to be there to answer the call of our nation. So my role with IA is group president of Workforce Solutions. And what does that mean? It really means that I lead our customer side of the business. So our, our customer engagement, strategic account management, sales, business development, all of our workforce solutions, advisory components of the business as well as our, our program management. So if we have a customer and we’re in a a committed engagement relationship with them, there’s a lot that needs to be managed. There’s a lot of opportunity that we can help our customers with devising new solutions on how to solve some of their labor challenges. And it’s fascinating every single day in this role to be able to experience what customers are trying to problem solve and then dynamically problem solve it with them. So our company has grown, of course, as you mentioned in the intro we’ve definitely experienced hyper growth over the last five years with, with a massive lift in the last 24 to 36 months or so. And our, our platform has continued to build on, on the virality that was well in the works before a pandemic ever hit our nation.

Jeff Howell (07:19):

Well bring us through that. What happened? Let, let’s bring through, I’m assuming we’re talking March when the pandemic hit. Bring us through what your situation was like when your boss came to you and, and said, Hey, we need to do this deployment. And some of the decisions that you had to make when the crisis hit.

April Hansen (07:36):

You know, it was one of those one of those things where just like everyone, nobody really knew what was going to happen. So we had a, a just wildly uncertain set of circumstances. There was uncertain circumstances on how our nation was going to be impacted. As you probably recall, we started with hotspots, right? There was kind of New York City and Seattle and Los Angeles and San Diego, and then kind of Detroit and some other areas started coming off the map, but it was really sort of concentrated on hotspots and nobody knew what was next. And so I can still remember very vividly the first wave and the very first phone call that we got with a medical center in San Diego that said, you know, here we are. I was in a board meeting that morning and my team was blowing up my phone.


I’m like, oh, what do you guys need? And I looked down and they’re like, you need to get on the phone right now. And we got on the phone with the incident command center at a medical center in San Diego, and they said, look, we are going to be receiving patients that were just evacuated straight from Wuhan. They’re being staged at Miramar Air Force or sorry, MI Miramar Marine Corps air Station right now. And we are going to be transporting them, and we have to make some very fast decisions around staffing. We’ve separated units now, so we have designated covid units. That was sort of the first time that we started hearing about designated covid care units and, and we’re now gonna figure out our staffing plan. And so we had a mix of contract travel nurses there. We had local nurses that were employed through us via agency, and we had, they had their own core staff.


And so very quickly we had to work together to figure out screening criteria of who had the right skills to take care of this new novel type of patient that was coming in with care protocols that were still being designed on the fly. Testing was not rapidly available, right? So you remember back then we had to send tests to national laboratories and it could be a week before you were getting results. And so it was really trying to, trying to figure out do we have the right skills? Who has those skills? Do we have the right mix? Nobody knew how their insurers were going to handle if your, if your employees got sick, what if they got sick? What if they died? I mean, this was human life that we were making decisions on, and this was really, really tough. And with a ton of uncertain circumstances, the hospital partners that we had the opportunity to work with and continue to have the opportunity to service were incredible.


We were watching innovation in healthcare unfold, not even daily by the hour, the care protocols. I remember one of our clients in Seattle releasing nationally their care protocols because they had some of the, the very first instances to care for, right? So they had the opportunity to, to learn the rapid experimentation with their care protocols on what was helping to save lives, and how they went very public to share their care protocols with hospitals across our nation and across the world. And seeing how those iterated over time. And as you know, the variants and everything have continued to go really, the knowledge sharing was important. And what I don’t think we recognized was that our travel nurses right from the beginning became a very important part of that knowledge sharing when we got into further waves. So we kind of handled the first wave and, and we thought that was a lot, right?


Making, making decisions, deploying thousands of nurses to hotspot areas in super short periods of time when the world was shutting down. And so getting transportation, hotels, and we thought that was challenging. And, and that was, now looking back on it, it was like a micro level of challenging compared to the waves that were yet ahead. And so when we, you know, then advance in into future waves, what we recognized was the care providers that got exposure to caring for these really critically ill types of patients in those hotspots, they became basically vehicles for knowledge transfer to other areas of the country that they would then move and serve that hadn’t yet gone through this. I can remember a hospital in Green Bay right here in my own community. The one of the leaders was a friend I went to nursing school with, and he called me and he said, I know you do this travel nurse stuff.


We don’t really use travel nurses. We haven’t used them, but we need to, we’re busting at the seams. Can, can you get me travel nurses that have worked with Covid before in one of the hotspots or other areas? We need their knowledge. And that’s exactly what we did. We were able to move nurses that had taken care of covid patients in units in Texas and New York, and bring them here to my home community in Green Bay to help our own hospitals learn and, and develop their care protocols. And they were well prepared to be able to assimilate these nurses into their workforce and respiratory care providers and everybody else. And they were open and accepting of the learnings while they were also developing their own protocols. So it was really novel to see this come together in the way that it did. But nothing was known.


And so decision making framework, there was no time . I think I’ve talked about that. I think I shared that in my keynote with AlayaCare as well. Normally you have time to go assess your variables and think of the upstream and downstream impacts and put together a committee to make a decision and really, you know, get ’em a majority vote and what people feel and how this is gonna work. There was no time for that. And so this was rapid fire decision making with a lot of ambiguity, complex circumstances at a scale never seen before by our business.

Jeff Howell (13:18):

Right? That’s all .

April Hansen (13:20):

Yeah, that’s all, you know, it was simple

Jeff Howell (13:22):

, it’s like being a wartime president for a war you didn’t ask for or a plan to defend. That would be so overwhelming re regardless of whatever emergency protocols that you have in place that are really more generic, you know, and like, these things move so quickly. And when you say that when San Diego calls and you know, there’s, there’s people coming in from Wuhan. Wow. That’s the ability to just kind of mobilized so quickly. And like when you say innovation unfolding by the hour, that’s total chaos.

April Hansen (13:57):

It, it really was. And, and maybe, you know, controlled chaos. I can still remember having a conversation with my CEO, it’s distinctly kind of embedded in my mind. I was on spring break with my family, and if you remember that year, that was when spring break happened. And like, our kids never went back to school, right? So, you know, we were, we still took this trip. And I remember being in the car driving to the airport for this trip and going to my husband. I don’t think this is a good idea. I see what’s happening in other parts of the country. We’re starting to deal with it. I don’t know that we should be going to Florida, you know, although it was very cold in Wisconsin and we were looking forward to getting to Florida. It’s like, I don’t know how this is gonna work out.


And we were in Florida when we got the notification that our, our school was when not coming back into session in person, and we were gonna figure out this virtual school thing. And I never, you know, vacationed a moment of that because it really, you know, the demand hit heavy. And I spent the entire time in the spare bedroom at my in-laws in Florida on the phone working. And, and I still remember the phone call with, with our C E o, who is, who is just incredible. I mean, Alan Bran’s brain functions like no other person I’ve met in my life. And he is in just incredible at, at rapid fire decision making and, and coming up and leading through chaos. And so I felt so confident in, in his leadership in this timeframe. I knew that we would do all the right things that we needed to do.


But I remember on the phone and he said, well, April, you know what? We’ve spent years architecting this platform. We know the methodology. We know that we can, we can rise to the challenge of what our customers need if we don’t do this, who will? And, and you really think about that, and it was like, I, I agree. It was totally uncertain. We didn’t know the right contract terms to have in place. We didn’t know how we were gonna handle all of the issues, the unknown unknowns, right? The, the scariest thing in business, the unknowns, you don’t even know about. The, we didn’t know how any of those things were gonna be handled, but what were we gonna do, say no right? To hospitals that were calling us by the minute, asking us to help advertise their jobs and mobilize nurses to them, it wasn’t an option.


And so as those, you know, as those needs came in, we tried to our best to dedicate as many resources as possible. We scaled up our internal teams massively. We added thousands of internal team members. There was one point in time I, I remember kind of this analogy, our first floor of our offices in San Diego, nobody was in the office. You know, everybody was working remotely. Nobody was in the office except our team that had to get the laptops ready to be able to get remote equipment for all of our new employees, all of our new corporate hires. And so it was like an assembly line in the first floor of our, our office building in San Diego rapidly getting computers imaged and, and getting all of our software and everything installed that we needed out to our new hires so that we could keep up with the demand that was coming in from our hospitals, because if we didn’t do it, do it, who was going to, right?


And I think a lot of agencies took that same approach. And, and I’m really proud of the work of the healthcare staffing industry to get creative, to meet the demands and needs and, and so many incredible owner founders, leaders of these companies c coming together to try to problem solve something that our nation had never been faced with at this scale before. And I think our, I think IA did an incredible job at, at what we needed to do to morph our corporate infrastructure scale and rise our, our head internal headcount to be able to service all of our customers and, and be able to service our clinicians at the same exact time. Because we really have kind of a two-sided business equation. We have our field clinicians and we have our customers, and we’re matchmaking between those two. So, sure, it was definitely a dynamic time. You know,

Jeff Howell (17:47):

I never thought about the special kind of person that’s required from the travel nurse side. They gain this unique niche, specialized knowledge of how to work in a hotspot, and then they’re in demand by the next hotspot. But it, you know, it’s crazy to me also that, you know, you go from being a regular nurse to being a, like a swat team kind of nurse that’s now in demand to go to the next very dangerous place at a time when all of this stuff, we didn’t have covid fatigue, you know, it, it’s like everyone was at the peak of the, their fear as well.

April Hansen (18:24):

That’s right. You know, we actually created a new a new kind of profession and and specialty inside our system to be able to designate the care providers that had covid experience because it became a, you know, a really high in demand request from health systems to say, we need somebody that have, has actually done this and has been here. And, and of course that went away as, as kind of everybody got exposure whether they wanted it or not to caring for these patients. So, but in the, in the beginning, we had to create a new specialty essentially of these people have this, this competence at this point in time. And oftentimes our travel nurses, we have, we have great stories of this. Our travel nurses were leading these units. We’ve had travel nurses that, you know, opened up and led these units and stayed multi months on assignment because they had this experience and they could bring that on the road with them.


And, you know, the, the unique type of person that you mentioned, you, you nailed it. You have to be, as a travel nurse, number one, you have to be really, really comfortable in a brand new environment because you may show up your first day on the job and be caring for somebody that does not do well or they crash and you don’t know where anything is and, and you don’t know who you’re working with. And normally when you’re accustomed to showing up at work with the same exact team that you’ve worked with for a really long time, you know who’s gonna have your back if your patient starts going bad or if their patient starts having complications, you know, as a nurse, how you buffer and, and support each other and what you do in those roles. And when you’re in a brand new environment, without that support network, without that familiarity and kind of just muscle memory of how to do your job in that environment, it’s a whole new set of dynamics and, and challenges that I give our travel nurses a ton of credit because they rapidly adapt to new environments.


Even the words, I could still remember as a travel nurse, I did dozens of assignments, and there’s a little small yellow feeding tube that you often use for jejunal feedings in patients that can’t eat in, in traditional means. And so I would show up and just hold up the little yellow feeding tube and say, what do you call this here? What is your name for it? Because there were different kind of slang words. Some hospitals called it by its product name and others had a a protocol name for it. I would say, what do you call this here? And what is your protocol, right? And where do I find it? And it was no, depending on what part of the country I was in, it would be different, right? And so travel nurses have that innate ability where you don’t come with your preformed assumptions, you have your skills, they’re interoperable, your skills are portable, you adopt to the culture that you’re working within, and you adopt to that care environment and you do it rapidly. And not everybody enjoys that type of work environment. But when you, when you nail it, when you really, really get good at it, it’s an incredibly building experience for you as a professional and for your overall skills and ability.

Jeff Howell (21:21):

So I’m assuming that like you’ve got this unique set of circumstances that you were thrown into where the magnitude of the decisions required were, you know, off the charts, but also the limited amount of time was equally as intense. And I’m assuming that’s where you’ve come up with, you have these terms like kicking the can and decision drowning and how leaders really don’t make decisions or outsource their thinking to committees. And that in itself is a form of decision making. Can you bring us through? Cuz that really was powerful to me, was the frameworks that you have around how to make the right call every time. And, and also how to identify not making a call is probably the the worst thing that leaders do is there’s, they’re, they’re overwhelmed with the dec with decisions. So they park everything in so many things in neutral. And a lack of decision is actually worse than, than any decision.

April Hansen (22:25):

Yeah, you’re spot on with that. So, you know, the first, like, how do you make the right decision every time? The simple answer is you don’t . And that’s, that’s just it. So I think what what one of the biggest lessons learned was when the volume of decisions to be made is so huge, people’s capacity to make decisions dwindles. And that’s what I call decision drowning syndrome. It’s layering on top, on top on top. You can’t effectively delegate sometimes, and I can remember this happening to myself sometimes when the volume of decisions flowing at you, it feels like you’re trying to, you know, stand under Niagara Falls and drink. It’s like so huge. It’s coming at you. You don’t even sometimes recognize when you’re not making a decision. And so you kind of get in this in this stuck phase, you’re paralyzed by this decision drowning syndrome.


And so often we have been conditioned as business leaders to get everyone’s opinion and try to get to consensus at least a practical consensus where we can work. And there’s nothing wrong with that in traditional circumstances. However, what I recognized, and, and this is what I talk about as part of the decision making framework, is that you can’t always achieve that sort of state of harmony in decision making when you’re operating out of chaos. And when the people surrounding you are suffering from decision drowning syndrome, or you’re suffering from it yourself, where you don’t even know if you’re making a decision, if you’re stuck, if you’re paralyzed, you are literally just there. And in that time, there has to be directive, there actually has to be someone that makes the call. And that says, and, and in my case, this was often me as the leader, or it was Alan as our c e O that says, this is the decision we’re doing this in that moment.


You have to be highly tolerant of risk and failure. And so you have to say, I don’t know if this is the right decision. It, it could very well be wrong, but we have to test this if it’s the right decision. We have to be prepared to rapidly scale the effects of this decision and help the everybody get on the same page with it. If it’s the wrong decision, we have to be prepared to shut it down quickly and test again and move on. And so this kind of, it was almost authoritative or directive in certain ways. People needed authority, they needed direction, they needed this clear cut. I, I don’t wanna say and kind of generalize it, did they need to be told what to do? Everybody still had a voice and they still had brains and they were still thinking, right? But they needed somebody that kind of, you know, to point to and to say, is this correct?


Are we doing it right? Should we keep going? What are we doing? And that was kind of the role that I found myself in a lot during this time. And it, you had, I had to be highly tolerant of risk and of failure and of the mindset that, look, I have enough information to make a decision where it doesn’t impose too much risk. I don’t have all the pieces to know that it’s exactly right. It sits somewhere in the middle and we just have to move forward or we’re all gonna be stuck. And so I think, you know, that’s kind of what decision drowning looks like. When you have ideal circumstances, you can avoid in many cases, decision drowning and you can actually put pieces in place to prevent it, right? You can put much a more effective delegation. You can ask people what they think they have authority to do and what they think they don’t have authority to do.


And you can bestow authority on people. A lot of times people just don’t know what decisions they’re actually allowed to make in their company. So you have to ask, right, if I, I do this exercise with my team, I’ll say, tell me what you think you don’t have the authority to make in terms of decisions and what you think you would make if you had the authority. And we’ll go around in round robin, or we’ll do it in our one-on-ones, and I’ll say, great, you have the authority, right? Who do you need me to tell that you have this authority so they don’t question you? And we go around to try to, you know, avoid everybody from falling into decision drowning. But in certain times when that chaos and you can see it, you can feel it in your team members, you can ask ’em flat out, are you paralyzed? Right? It right now in this great, I’m gonna make the decision , I’ll take the risk, I’ll take the fall if that happens for it, keep going.

Jeff Howell (26:41):

I love that because so much of this actually goes unspoken, right? Like, oh, I don’t wanna bother my boss with this decision. You know, they’re really busy and it’s you know, I don’t know, like, and a lot often what’ll happen is people will wait until they actually have face-to-face time to bring that up, right? That’s right. And I’m gonna credit you for being the, the one to introduce to me the Colin Powell 40 70 rule. Can you tell the audience what that is?

April Hansen (27:07):

Yeah. You know, I think Colin Powell has a ton of wisdom to share around decision making. And I can only imagine the degree of decisions that fell on his plate. And, and the 40 70 rule, I think this is a great, really simple principle to live by. If you have less than 40% of the information around the decision that you’re trying to make, you probably don’t have enough. And it could be risky. If you wait until you have more than 70% of the information needed to make the decision, you’re probably too slow. And so it’s kind of a seesaw, right? It’s a little bit of, of a meter here to not enough information, too risky, too much information, too slow. So how do you kind of find yourself in the sweet spot of that? And I ask myself that question and, and you know, what, what do I have?


Where am I? Do I have enough information? I think curiosity and asking a bunch of questions is really important here. Not to be annoying and just ask questions, you know, people questions for the sake of asking a question, but it’s helping yourself at least get above that kind of 40% mark where, Hey, I feel comfortable enough, I’ve gathered enough information to reduce the complexity, to bring down the ambiguity around this decision that I feel comfortable going, going for it, and I’m meeting the timeline that’s needed of my team and of my company. And if I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough information, I keep asking questions. Anybody who works with me knows I ask a lot of questions. And I think it helps me get to the point where when I do have to escalate something to my boss, it’s saying, this is what I’ve gathered about it. This is my decision. Help me understand if it’s the wrong thing or if you see something I don’t, and it’s more or less me present, more or less me presenting at this point in time, this is what I’m gonna do. If it’s high enough stakes, I’m, I’m bringing it to, to my boss first. So this one I’m gonna do, you know, do you agree or disagree with it? And I’ve done the information gathering in advance, and, and that’s really helpful to get me somewhere between that 40 70 mark.

Jeff Howell (29:17):

Yeah, I love it. A and I love just being open and transparent, everyone working from the same frameworks. We’ve actually adopted this one to household laundry, right? If we have 40% of the laundry done, then the kids have enough for school. But if it’s up to 70%, we’re doing too much. We have our own dreams to chase.

April Hansen (29:37):

I think it sounds amazing.

Jeff Howell (29:39):

We’re never gonna get to a hundred percent. So why bother once we’re at 70 your country above our weight class?

April Hansen (29:44):

That’s exactly right. You know, and, and I think you, you brought up a good point too on, on the committee, right? And the sort of outsourcing, I’m in no way trying to say that decision by committee is bad, right? It’s, it is commonplace that of course we need to, to build advocates around our decisions. We need to have buy-in from the people that will ultimately live with the decisions. This is a very important piece of leadership that, that we can’t let go. What I think is dangerous though, is if there’s no thinking done in, in advance of these types of meetings and, and really in advance of the committee and there’s really no recommendation. And so it’s like, let’s just all hop on a call and, and do the thinking together. No. Right? So I kind of have this this piece where it’s like, let’s think about what we really need.


Let’s devise the solution, let’s do that. I, I think I saw the term a couple weeks ago. Let’s do the brain writing in advance. So there isn’t a call that’s wasted on brainstorming, right? Everybody should come with thoughts. It’s actually a great way to get inclusive inclusivity and be more inclusive in our meetings. Because, you know, if you get in a meeting with someone like me, I’m gonna ask questions and I’m gonna talk, and there might be somebody else that’s not gonna say a word. Well, how do we get their thoughts, right? If they’re not gonna talk in that group environment? So I, I challenge the notion of just sort of showing up and the broad discussions that happen in committees with no advanced work around the brain thinking, getting really, truthfully everyone’s opinion. Even the people that may be less vocal in a group setting.


The time spent in the committee should be on making the decision. It should be presenting what’s there, make a decision, move forward on executing that decision, not sort of trying to come to the consensus necessarily. We’ve all been in these situations, right? And then you’re like, what did I just spend two hours of my day doing? I don’t even know. And you have to have somebody that’s written down everything that was said for you to look back on, to even remember how the time was spent. Nobody in today’s pace of business has time for that. So if you’re outsourcing your thinking, you’re not gonna get the de to the decisions that you want. And you’re likely missing critical voices of people that will not speak up.

Jeff Howell (31:59):

Yeah, Amazon has a similar framework for meetings where you’re debating the ideas that were already proposed prior to the meeting, and if new me new ideas come up, so be it. But at least you aren’t seeing everyone, all the brand new ideas right on the spot as you go through the meeting.

April Hansen (32:15):

That’s exactly it. And maybe the, you know, the brand new idea to emerge is a combination of the ideas that are proposed, right? And then you can kind of see a beautiful blend of that. But, you know, I, I think about times when it was really, really, really chaotic in the height of this, there was no time for decision by committee right there. It couldn’t be perfectly architected. We couldn’t walk away with a beautiful project plan and deliverables and milestones and timelines and, and all the things that we normally do in the co course of business. There wasn’t any time for that. And so, you know, you had to just have that sort of on the fly decision making. Do I have enough information, yes or no? How do I get more if I don’t does it help me dispel some of the, the, you know, known or unknown truths or, or myths around this particular decision? Does it help me cut through the complexity and provide a tiny bit of clarity amongst a lot of ambiguous circumstances? Yes. Move forward, right? So it was kind of an alternative style to how I had led and made decisions my entire career. It was very, very different.

Jeff Howell (33:15):

So I was, when I was on your website, I found Purpose Points and Purpose Summit and also Nurse Happy. Can you tell me your involvement in those and what the difference is in between? Cuz it looks like you do some work on a consultative or workshop kind of basis.

April Hansen (33:31):

Yeah, so we have, I offer some workshops and consultative type work with companies as well that are working on decision making, that are working on sales empowerment. I, I love working with sales teams. I think it’s so cool seeing what sales teams can do as, as they morph and change their strategy. Purpose Point is an incredible organization that I became connected with through my public speaking career and through the times of the pandemic, they have a vast library and kind of panel of expert coaches on their team that also provide really cool training and development and incredible events. The Purpose Summit is an event that the Purpose Point team puts on each year. Last year it was held at Notre Dame, it’s back at Notre Dame again this year. So you can only imagine kind of the feeling and the energy that, that comes from this environment.


And they put together just a rockstar lineup of speakers, teachers, educators that help business professionals and leaders from all different industries, really with some of the most problematic or challenging topics that their businesses are facing. Employee turnover, retention, engagement, HR policy, business pivot and strategy with the goal of how do we as individuals and as business leaders ensure that we are connected with our purpose and that we are resonating our own connection and our company’s connection with our purpose to every single person that we work with. So the mission of Purpose Point as an organization I highly align with, and they’ve been a great partner together, we conceptualized the idea of Nurse Happy, which is essentially a, a customized qualitative program where we’re capturing the voice of nurses that are in the field as to how they are from a wellbeing perspective how they’re functioning within their career, how their career is meshing with their life, and really a focus on, on nurses overall wellbeing in the workplace.


And then what sorts of professional development, what source of training, what resources can we then bring back to these nurses based on what we’ve learned through the, the multiple tools that we have available to us really aiding in, in kind of this healing process and journey that nurses and clinicians, physicians everywhere are going through after the last couple of years. So, very exciting last year of development. IA has taken an active role in some of this work. We have a customer in Vermont that we’re working with and we’re fully funding this work right now as it launches. And this is an element of give back to the, the population at large. So we hope to reach as many nurses as possible, really being able to assess and understand their wellbeing and, and continue to deliver resources to health systems and to care providers starting with nurses along this line. So it’s kind of a it’s a project from the heart. It’s a passion project of mine that if this is a way that I can give back to care providers who have given so much to our communities, to our family members, then and, and help them be well, it’s, it’s definitely definitely coming from a place from the heart.

Jeff Howell (36:59):

Yeah, certainly. Nurse stress and burnout has been obviously, you know, sort of put to the test throughout the pandemic in a position that is understaffed and you know, a lot of people don’t even talk about the fact that so many nurses mirror are demographics where, you know, a lot of them just decided to retire or, you know, they saw the pandemic through and, you know, , they’re keen on retiring. I looked it up while you were speaking and so it’s the purpose It looks like there’s still 119 days left, so it’s May 23rd to 25th at Notre Dame, if any of the listeners want to go check it out and sign up. So April we’re coming up against our time here. I’ll get you outta here on this. Give us a reason to be optimistic about the future of healthcare employee engagement, turnover, and burnout.

April Hansen (37:51):

I think there’s a lot of positive things happening overall, and I think more than anything we have hope. And the reason why I believe this is because so many of the unknowns, we didn’t know how the pandemic was going to impact our workforce. We know now we didn’t know kind of where our, our healing of our nation and of our world was going to go. And I think we’re starting to really understand what that looks like. A lot of the unknowns that we dealt against or that we just, you know, really posed a lot of stress, were starting to unfold and, and understand how that is going to play out. So I do think that we cannot just move forward without acknowledging what our workforce has been through and the place that it continues to be in, in healthcare. I do think however, that, that healthcare employers are actively navigating the ways in which they can change their own approach to the workforce and help fill the needs of what the workforce ultimately wants.


As an example, we see a lot of health systems right now that are developing models to become a more flexible employer, offering a work-life integration schedule that allows people to keep their positions at the bedside and still be able to have small kids at school and in daycare and in other areas that a lot of times a typical 12 and a half hour shifts x number of days a week, it, it’s not accommodating that way. So being able to morph more to the needs of the workforce itself. We are certainly seeing much more aggressive and bold action by health systems to become a formidable employer in the gig economy, introduce more flexible benefit plans, introduce different compensation methodologies that are meeting the needs for a lot of the workforce that says, I wanna cash rich plan and benefit light. How can you do that for me?


And so you see a lot of change there. I also see that, you know, we have some really positive trends in terms of the number of people interested and still active in school and gaining momentum in healthcare careers and healthcare professions careers. I think that we’ve learned a lot that there’s different unique roles the role of, of technology specialists inside healthcare. Not just those people that work on the e EMR or on the, the infrastructure or data systems, but those people that are actually taking care of the technology that’s in the care environment. So we’re seeing the invention of new roles. We’re certainly seeing as, you know, really, really well in, in Alia care’s work and in the home care industry. The further expansion and innovation in virtual and remote care and Telecare services, I think there’s a ton to be really excited about as we move forward in more research opportunities, more further innovation and in integration of technology into the care space.


I think there’s a ton to look forward there. So for people that are saying, you know what, I really wanna be a nurse, I wanna be in this field, but I don’t wanna work in a hospital. There are more options than ever for those care providers to have different employment choices. And I also think regardless of what the macroeconomic factors do, healthcare is a place right now where the workforce is still operating from, from sort of a point of scarcity. So in terms of job security, in terms of really job demand and career growth, kind of regardless of what’s happening, the macroeconomic trends and factors, this is a really great place to seek employment and to build a long-term career trajectory. So I see employers rising to the occasion and what, what they can do. I see overall schools be, you know, really beginning to take a much more aggressive approach at modifying learning methodologies, incorporating new technologies, all everything we’re learning and, and open AI and everything else.


So I think it’s an incredibly exciting time for healthcare. I think what we were worried about, we kind of know so many of the impacts and the outcomes of that now, now we can have a plan and I think there’s a ton of hope, and I think that breeds a very positive outlook. It’s not without challenges, but every sector has challenges right now. I’m not minimizing the challenges that are still very, very real in healthcare, but I do think that we have so many of the right things in place to help us heal, to help us move forward, and ultimately to create a stronger healthcare infrastructure than we had in, in any years prior to the pandemic.

Jeff Howell (42:37):

The big silver lining that I take away from Covid is it, it’s really shook up the thinking on just about everything, right? Like there’s, there’s nothing that’s not on the table in terms of reevaluating work life integration and all the things you talk about, the bold action and addressing the gig economy and basically doing everything that we need to do to have survived the pandemic. And then what is life like afterwards? Because I feel like on so many fronts, we now live in a world that had technology before for people to work remotely. We didn’t have it because we didn’t have the corresponding culture. And now we’ve got three years of habits built in. I see the, the positive in all this is that everyone’s come out of this much more open-minded to doing things differently you know, moving forward. So everyone listening, if you want to go check out April Hanson, you can get more information about speaking with April about speaking gigs, workshops, and you can learn a little bit more about nurse happy, we’ll sign off. But April, then the first question after we sign off is I’m gonna ask you about giving me a reason to be optimistic about the Packer season for next year. So ,

April Hansen (43:55):

I may have less knowledge on that. Jeff , thanks so much.

Jeff Howell (44:01):

Thanks April.

Jeff Howell (44:03):

Home Health 360 is presented by Live Care. First off, I wanna thank our amazing guests and listeners. To get more episodes, you can go to, that’s spelled Home Health 360, or Search Home Health 360 on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. The easiest way to stay up to date on our new shows is to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also have a newsletter you can sign up for on to get alerts for new shows and more valuable content from AlayaCare right into your inbox. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Listen to episodes on your favourite platform:

Home Health 360 - Episode 37

Episode Description

A lot of home care leaders are suffering from what April Hansen calls “decision drowning syndrome,” which is when the volume of decisions to be made is so huge, people’s capacity to make decisions dwindles.

How can home care businesses prevent decision drowning and move forward on executing decisions efficiently to achieve hyper-growth?

April Hansen, a nurse, a tech entrepreneur, and a hyper growth business executive, successfully achieved hyper-growth by 900% in two years and increased employee engagement through a very thorough decision making framework.

In this episode, learn about April’s decision making framework and how it can improve your business’s decision making processes to eliminate stalemates or decision drowning that are preventing growth.

Episode Resources