In Medix’s recent webinar, “A New Look at the Nursing Shortage—and the Path Forward,” Medix and Healthcare Brew experts took a deep dive into the current state of nurse staffing and its challenges. Here are six insightful quotes from the webinar that shed light on the situation and offer advice for overcoming the ongoing nursing shortage.
1. “Nurses want more acknowledgement and appreciation for the work that they’re doing on the front lines.”
Burnout is real, and few people have been more stressed from COVID-19 than nurses. After years of working extra shifts and caring for millions of patients, nurses are looking for more recognition. The “healthcare heroes” era is over, and most nurses are craving a simple, “thank you.” Medix and Healthcare Brew have both seen positive results from health systems that have made efforts to ramp up nursing recognition. From appreciation weeks to online recognition boards, organizations which prioritize positivity and recognition have a better opportunity to find and retain local nursing talent.
2. “According to a survey, seven out of ten nurses said that they haven’t even been asked by their supervisor how they’re doing mentally after going through COVID and dealing with death and traumatic experiences on the front lines.”
This statistic may seem shocking, but approximately 70% of nurses who were surveyed for a study into the current state of the nursing hiring market said that they haven’t even been asked how they’re doing mentally. The pandemic dramatically increased nursing burnout and took a major mental toll on healthcare’s frontline workers. Seeing multiple people lose their lives on a daily basis while also risking their own has contributed to increased anxiety and depression among people working in the healthcare industry. Intentionally spending time in conversation with nursing staff or providing a way for them to share their feelings and feedback is key to making sure nurses feel heard.
3. “We’ve been told that health systems are addressing the nursing shortage… through making a sincere effort to accommodate their nurses’ scheduling needs and desire for flexibility.”
Over the past few years, the number of people seeking flexible employment has risen dramatically. While many nurses don’t have the opportunity to work from home, there are ways that employers can offer flexible work options. Offering different schedules and shifts can give nurses flexibility and balance. One Medix client tested this out by offering a shortened six-hour shift. Nurses on staff were thrilled with the new shift implementation. It also offered another added benefit to prospective nurses who were considering employment at the organization.
4. “There’s a big push for recruiting nurses internationally.”
The U.S. is facing a nursing shortage that may not be able to be addressed by a national workforce alone. The average age of a nurse in the U.S. is 52 years old. With one million nurses set to retire by 2030, the average human life expectancy continuing to increase, and the number of people graduating from nursing programs remaining somewhat flat, many industry experts believe that international nurses may be the answer to the nursing crisis. While seemingly a great idea, barriers in education and immigration have stalled this idea. Organizations can expect international nurses to continue to be a hot topic in the future, but for now, it seems that local, permanent nursing staff are the best bet for combating today’s nursing shortage.
5. “When we talk to nursing talent that are seeking a new job, the feedback has been there’s a lot of talk but not enough follow through.”
Spending time in conversation with nursing candidates and staff is important, but healthcare organizations must be willing to take action to address nursing concerns in order to combat today’s nursing crisis. If nurses communicate that they feel overwhelmed by the number of patients in their care, steps must be taken to reduce workload. If nurses indicate they would like more opportunity for career growth, organizations should find a way to support that. A hospital system in California, and a Medix client, responded to a desire for more education for nursing staff by implementing a tuition reimbursement program. The program offered $10,000 in tuition reimbursement each year for full- and part-time nurses with at least one year of employment. The results were clear: happier, more fulfilled nursing staff who stayed with the organization instead of seeking employment elsewhere.
6. “The benefit of partnering with a local recruiting firm is that they can be your eyes and ears in the market.”
To overcome today’s nursing shortage, healthcare organizations must know the current state of the nursing market. However, it’s difficult for hiring leadership to stay on top of hiring trends and assess what other organizations are doing to attract and retain talent. This is when partnering with a local recruiting firm such as Medix, which specializes in nursing staffing, can be helpful. Since recruiting firms are experts in the industry and work with multiple healthcare organizations, they can be your eyes and ears in the market. They’ll be able to advise and educate throughout the hiring process so that your organization receives the best and most qualified nursing talent available, and you can focus on running your organization to the best of your ability.
Interested in learning more about today’s nursing shortage and strategies to combat it? Watch “A New Look at the Nursing Shortage—and the Path Forward.”