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Cara Lunsford, RN, experienced the nursing shortage first-hand. Over more than eight years as an oncology nurse at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, she saw not only the most heartbreaking cases but also witnessed the burnout that can plague nurses when emotional stress is coupled with consecutive 12-hour shifts. She and her co-workers were usually scheduled three shifts a week but had to cover more when there was no one to replace them, which happened often.

She learned two facts that convinced her she had to do something about it. "Nurses need support from peers and others," she told us, "plus, their 'three 12's a week' schedule often leaves them available to pick up hours at skilled nursing facilities or home health agencies." She set about to design software, attract investors, and hire software developers to make her vision a reality. The result is a company she dubbed "Holliblu," which offers an app of the same name that Lunsford, now the CEO, describes as an online community for nurses.

Holliblu App

The online community, she continued, "is a place for nurses to come together with each other and for healthcare providers needing nurses to find them." Using the free Holliblu app, nurses can create a virtual professional profile that will be seen by healthcare companies in need of nurses. If they choose, users can have the system convert their profile to a resume that can be exported as needed.

Free for nurses to use, Holliblu will be supported by employer subscriptions. Lunsford anticipates employers will use the system to find nurses they need, either to fill open positions or single visits or shifts. "I know nurses who work for as many as four providers at a time," she told us. "But it is a constant struggle for them to juggle all those schedules and W-2s."

Holliblu solves that problem with its calendar. "Nurses can indicate their available days and hours. When an employer makes an offer and they accept it, nurses can see their accepted assignments at a glance." Employers also have the ability to define a need, filter Holliblu to show only those nurses whose skills match that need, and broadcast their opening to that group. They can set it up to give the assignment to the first one who responds or choose to select one from all those who do.

The system also keeps track of participating nurses' license expiration dates and issues reminders. The Holliblu app can be downloaded from the Apple store or Google Play store and used by nurses for free. Healthcare companies can find subscription information at

©2019 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.