As the founder and president of Gale Healthcare Solutions, Tony Braswell has brought a transformative solution to a growing problem that is affecting millions of Americans every day—the nursing shortage.
Fueled by his firsthand experience with traditional healthcare staffing challenges, Tony launched Gale Healthcare in 2016, introducing a better solution to overcome them. Named in honor of Florence Nightingale, who revolutionized nursing in the 19th century, Gale is revolutionizing the field once again by harnessing the power of on-demand technology and the gig economy. The Gale staffing platform connects nursing professionals with healthcare facilities in need of staff—and empowers nurses with greater control over their schedules and same-day pay. “We are driven by a single goal: to ensure no person goes without care,” Tony says. “To accomplish this, we also have to take care of our nurses and help make their lives better, and we’re doing that.”
Tony’s tech background and passion for helping people has driven his entire career. His expertise as a computer programmer, combined with experience in the recruitment industry and ownership of a staffing company, shaped his vision for Gale. Today, with nearly 65,000 nursing professionals on the Gale platform, and more joining every day, the company is making a profound impact on the health care landscape.
Based on their success, Tony and Gale are being recognized for their industry leadership. In the past year, Tony was named one of the Top 100 Staffing Leaders in North America, while Gale received the Tampa Bay Times Best Tech Start-ups Award and was ranked one of the Inc 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America. As Tony continues to transform healthcare staffing, his dedication to improving the lives of nurses, healthcare facilities, and patients remains the driving force behind Gale.
We spoke with Tony to learn more about Gale, the inspiration behind the Gale App, and how he’s transforming the field and lives—one nurse at a time.
What inspired you to develop the Gale App, Tony? What makes it so different?
It started from my son buying a bottle of ketchup on Amazon. In 2016, we were a small operation with about 150 nurses. One day, I got a message that he ordered one bottle for next-day delivery. I thought it was ridiculous at the time. Meanwhile, a coworker had just spent 45 minutes scheduling two nurses. Before the app, we’d call and text nurses individually. It was so time-consuming and prevented us from expanding our service. Then it hit me—we’re doing this wrong. So, we set out to automate the process. The Gale App allows us to send alerts of open shifts to thousands of nurses simultaneously, and they can pick up shifts as needed. We also pay them within eight minutes of finishing work, which means being able to buy groceries on the way home.
The Gale App has been a gamechanger for individual health care professionals and organizations—and the patients who need them. How does it work, and how are they benefiting from it?
Some of our nurses have full-time jobs, but need extra money. Others are in school. They can work for us once a week, once a month—whenever they need. Last year, 60 million Americans worked a gig. Like other gig-style apps, we offer workers flexibility. But unlike some, we also hire them as W2 employees, rather than independent contractors. It’s a new way to work, without sacrificing rights to overtime, health insurance options and other employee benefits. We believe in doing the right thing.
Will you share a few memorable stories or feedback from nurses and providers?
A year ago, a CNA called me saying, “I wanted to tell you I just graduated nursing school. I’m a nurse practitioner now. Because of Gale, I was able to go to school full-time and take care of my family.” That’s a success story, a game-changer, and now she can treat more patients as a nurse practitioner.
I’ll share one more. Last fall, a Category 5 hurricane was heading towards a nursing home in Tampa and they were already understaffed. It was a true crisis, but we got them help immediately because our pool of nurses is so big. We still provide them with supplemental staff today. When providers are desperate, they turn to us, which is incredibly fulfilling to me personally.
What do you enjoy most about your work, Tony? What drives you?
I’ve been doing this for 31 years and what still drives me is helping people. My dad, my mom, and my high school coach have all needed nursing care. If no one’s available to help people, what can they do? We have to fix the problem by training more nurses and making their lives better so that they stay in the field.
Do you have a particular quote that inspires or guides you?
The work we do here matters so much. I’m guided by a quote by Florence Nightingale: “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” Those words are on a plaque that sits on my desk, and they guide me every day.
Founder & President — Gale Healthcare Solutions