According to the US Health Resources and Services Administration, one-third of nurses will retire within the next 10 years. This turnover, combined with the rise in nursing demand, is going to create a drastic and lengthy nursing shortage. 200,000 annual nurse job openings are expected, between 2016 and 2026. All healthcare facilities must step up to support their nurses to survive. The exact healthcare setting does not matter: with the right measures, any facility can retain and develop a strong HCP workforce.
Intelligent Talent Planning
Planning proactive talent pipelines will be essential for any healthcare facility. Creating programs and incentives helps you attract and develop young CNAs and nurses early on. A good example of this is collaborating with universities, community colleges or other training programs. This lets you fill healthcare job vacancies with talent who are prepared for the demands of your specific facility. In turn, they will be more likely to work there long term.
Facilities can also benefit from attracting young nurses early on. Part-time shifts, holiday pay and tuition reimbursement are particularly attractive to younger demographics. Understanding what young nurses want out of their careers is essential, if you want to create competitive offers that
Addressing mental trauma
Nursing jobs are already stressful, but COVID-19 has magnified this tenfold. The increased workload, long and demanding hours and the fear of infection led to symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress among some HCPs. Healthcare facilities must take responsibility by providing their nurses with the emotional support they need. Unfortunately, many HCPs do not talk about their mental issues or take the necessary time to rest, when possible.
Mental health problems are still wrongly viewed as signs of weakness or something to be ashamed of. To address this, a culture of understanding and empathy must be established to encourage a more open and honest dialogue. From there, facilities can provide helpful programs and resources like workshops or communication activities.
Making nurses feel valued
Showing gratitude may seem like a formality, but it can mean the world. When you feel valued, you become more committed, manage stress easier and gain more work satisfaction. For example, nurses in long term care facilities are 10% less likely to feel “recognized” or “thanked,” compared to HCPs in other healthcare facilities. It is no surprise that the annual turnover rate for LTC nursing jobs is double that of an inpatient setting.
Facing the challenges ahead
Even as we head to a “new normal,” there is seemingly no slowing down the inevitable nursing shortage. The stress of the pandemic has already taken its toll on nurses around the world and many are resigning as a result. Per diem nurses are extremely valuable but they cannot be the sole solution. From CNAs to NPs, nurses on all levels need to be supported and taken care of, if hospitals have any hope of weathering the storm. Facilities must go above and beyond to develop and continuously support the talent that remains. By creating a positive culture, crafting detailed development plans and sensitively addressing the struggles they have faced, healthcare facilities can succeed in creating a flexible, resilient and capable workforce that will carry the nursing world into the future.