Among the healthcare system, nurses are the most integral part of it. In the entire medical field, they make up the largest set of professionals. But the post-pandemic scenario has changed it all.
According to an annual World Health Statistics Report, there are approximately four million nurses in the United States but, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that the country is running in a shortage. The US needs more than 11 million additional nurses to avoid a lack of nurses through 2026.
Post-Pandemic Nursing Shortage
The pandemic has been the worst hit for the medical field. The frontline warriors have seen the worst during this. Caring for patients during the worst waves of COVID-19 has led to burnout. For covid related reasons, some nurses had quit their jobs; some quit due to the extreme stress, and some left because they were infected with it, while others had kids and their online school to take care of.
While some of these nurses will eventually return to duty, many of them are not returning. This will further contribute to the shortage. Some nurses are trading acute-care hospitals with specialty clinics, while some will entirely change their career choice. The pandemic has attracted them towards the idea of being a travel or par-diem nurse. This allows them to work in contract terms and earn better than a staff nurse. Many nurses who have taken contract work will more likely remain part of the nursing reserve staff for several more years.
Will it be Possible to Address the Nursing Shortage?
The nursing shortage will continue to remain a huge battle for the medical field, and while there are difficulties in curbing this shortage, here are some strategies that you can try and implement:
1. An Onboarding Program
When hospitals employ new nurses, they should make them feel welcomed with an onboarding program. Studies have shown that group cohesion and nurse autonomy reduces employee retention among nurses. A good onboarding program can ease them and make them feel less overwhelmed.
For newly graduated nurses, providing a nurse residency program will be helpful for an easy transition from being a student nurse to a full-time nurse. This offers mentorship for new graduates by combining new nurses with experienced nurses, so they care for the patients together before taking care of patients independently.
2. Improved Benefits
Hospitals should provide benefits beyond the paid leaves and health insurance primarily covered in all full-time jobs. Nursing schools are expensive, especially for those who achieve more advanced courses like Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN). Introducing beneficiaries like college loan forgiveness is an excellent way of attracting the right candidate for your position.
Another great way to attract talent is to offer amenities that are more likely considered out-of-the-box. This may include fitness centers and a flexible schedule that boosts work-life balance.
3. Offer More Opportunities
Providing nurses with residential programs is another excellent solution. As more nurses pursue Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN), a greater need arises for residency programs to accept them after graduation. Hospitals can provide these programs to BSN graduates and give them hands-on experience in the practicality of work.
These programs should ensure that the nurses get the needed guidance and support to excel in their careers. Assigning mentors to each nurse should be included in this.
4. Current Nurses Can Be Recruiters
Nurses know the underlying issues in the current community and what issues are essential to other nurses. Converting current nurses into recruiters and talent scouts is a great way to curb common issues that go unnoticed.
Offering monetary incentives for referrals will encourage nurses to get other nurses into the workforce.
5. Shift Flexibility Brings Good Quality
Flexible shifts help nurses adjust their personal lives alongside their professional life. Some hospitals have introduced a category called “mom shift.” This is suitable for working nurses who have a baby to take care of, as they can work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and expect to go back home after that.
Offering flexible work shifts to nurses will make them feel valued and ensure retention and great quality of work.
6. Outsourcing Services
Many hospitals have designated HR departments for recruiting needs. With the different methods of recruitments available, a recruiter can source candidates based on the requirements.
Hiring a professional recruiter for recruiting staff can lessen the burden and ensure the recruitment of correct candidates.
Boost Your Recruitment:
When nurses feel valued, they are more likely to stay, their performance improves, and they take up more responsibilities.
The key to boosting your recruitment efforts is – focusing on your candidate’s needs. Providing them a supportive environment with a sense of community to see their career advancement is the key to a good retention rate.
Once their needs are met, great quality candidates will come to you.