It’s no secret that nurse shortages have challenged the U.S. medical community for many years. As baby boomers continue to age, healthcare resources are stressed to the max. RNs, physical therapists and healthcare professionals seem to be worth their weight in gold!
The challenge for companies and facilities is there’s really no end in sight. Nurse shortages are projected to continue for decades to come. This reality requires organizations to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to nursing recruitment and retention.
Forward-thinking healthcare leaders should consider the following facts and potential solutions to ever-worsening nurse shortages:
Nurse Shortages Will Continue for Years
I’d like to say there’s “light at the end of the tunnel,” but the reality is we’re still in the early stages of the aging baby boomer era. Most demographers define the generation as Americans born between 1946 and 1964. This means that these adults only range between the ages of 55 and 73, but current life expectancy is significantly higher at 79.
Competition Among Healthcare Companies Will Increase
Some people may assume nurse scarcity would force healthcare companies to supplement care with other types of service. However, that’s simply not the case. In fact, many hospital systems have increased nurse functions in an effort to provide ambulatory care in the home setting.
In addition, some organizations continue to expand geographically, and new companies are still entering the market. While home health agency regulations historically created barriers to entry, CMS moratoriums have relaxed. We should expect new entrepreneurs to enter the market in the years to come.
Comprehensive Staffing Solutions Are Necessary
The combined effect of continued nurse shortages and new medical provider competition requires creative solutions from current business owners and leadership teams. Facebook campaigns and social networking recruitment may have seemed silly a few years back, but perhaps they’re worth a second look. Similarly, now may be the time to consider offering “sign-on” bonuses to new hires.
You should also remember that recruitment is just one side of the staffing coin, and retention is also critical. Think of your nurse team in terms of debits and credits. If you need 20 reliable RNs in any given week, then losing three to resignation requires three new hires just to maintain the status quo.
Consider implementing loyalty and tenure incentives. Just like a sign-on bonus may pay off in spades, so too might an anniversary payment. Or, maybe you rollout a pay scale that dramatically rewards loyal nurses with industry-leading compensation. A higher-than-market rate may prove affordable when contrasted with costs of recruitment and turnover.
Remember that every challenge also presents an opportunity for those with an open mind. While nurse shortages increase business costs and stress operations, they also allow creative healthcare companies to gain competitive distinctions. Those that rise to the occasion will secure market share and may ultimately acquire others that fail.
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If your medical company or facility is in need of top-notch nurses, you should also consider the help of San Diego County’s premier nurse recruiting agency!