Last year at the height of the pandemic, ER nurses cared for 2 to 3 times the number of patients they have expected. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals across the country faced a critical shortage of staff.
As staffing shortage and turnover rates continue to rise, hospitals and healthcare professionals must look for long–term solutions to reduce attrition and boost productivity.
With hospitals having to walk the tight rope between budgeting and protecting their current workforce, investing in a staffing strategy is probably farthest from their minds. But without substantial policy changes, they will miss the opportunity to engage more staff and save money. Ultimately, it is going to cost hospitals more money to do nothing. Now is the time to act.
Even as the need for healthcare grows, the United States is likely to experience a shortage of nurses. Nearly one in five RNs are projected to leave in the next six months. Inadequate staffing and the toll on mental and physical health are the two main reasons for the turnover.
The American Journal of Medical Quality 2019 predicts that by the year 2031, the United States will need more than 900K new registered nurses. In comparison, the RN workforce is expected to grow from 3 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2029, i.e., a growth of just 7%. From 2016 through 2030, there could be an acute shortage of RNs, especially in the South and the West.
Higher pay is not necessarily at the top of the priority list regarding what nurses want from hospitals. Instead, they want a better and safer workplace, where shifts are limited to 12 hours or less, and there are enough nurses per shift.
These demands are especially relevant considering the pandemic that we’ve experienced for the last eighteen months. Hospitals must do their utmost to protect staff from burnout and make work-life balance a priority to make their institution more attractive and prevent turnover.
At PX3, we have worked with the best organizations in the country and understood some of the critical issues that need addressing:
The COVID-19 crisis has driven healthcare professionals over the edge. It is so serious some people are now contemplating a career change. While turnover has always been a long-term problem in the healthcare industry, the pandemic has only exacerbated it.
Organizations must rework their strategies to make better use of their resources and energy. Employees must be encouraged to achieve their personal career goals. This way, they will be less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Staffing strategies must be overhauled to maintain workforce stability. Organizations need to hire the right staff in the first place, ensuring that the candidate has the right qualifications and will fit in with the organization’s culture.
Hospitals must establish collective goals for the workforce to foster a team mentality and help staff take ownership of their role.
High-performing employees must be encouraged to participate in training programs through online courses.
Find a healthcare company that can find quality medical staff and improves retention.
All these ideas can only form the basis of a retention strategy. In addition, organizations need a proactive recruitment policy to prevent staff levels from dropping dramatically and prevent burnout among existing staff.