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How to Predict Nurse Staffing Shortage

6 million.

That’s how many new nurses we’ll need by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, the health institution also predicted that over 4.6 million shortfalls of nurses would happen all over the globe when that time comes.

From high turnovers to disrupted workflow, understaffing results in a ripple of issues that all boil down to the quality of your health services, thus heavily impacting patients. Studies show that the higher the nurse-to-patient ratio is, the more patient care declines. Understaffing has even been shown to impact patient mortality rates directly.

This reality is what the healthcare system of America and the rest of the world is facing. As a result, medical facilities are trying to develop creative strategies to navigate through to provide quality services that will save as many lives as possible.

So, we ask: how ready are you to navigate the nurse staffing shortage?

THE FUTURE OF NURSING

Nurses are the foundation of any healthcare team in delivering quality patient care. They make up the largest single occupation in healthcare and are a significant source of all-around support to residents and physicians. Caring for patients day in and out, nurses are essential in the optimal operation of your healthcare facility; they are truly indispensable in being a beacon of light that nurtures America’s society back to health.

To say they are an incredible group of professionals is an understatement — they are a crucial part of society and even the economy. That’s why the nurse staffing shortage that the United States is currently experiencing is particularly alarming for healthcare employers. Moreover, the outlook of the nurse staffing shortage is critical, with understaffing impacting national healthcare as early as the next four years in 2025. In fact, the forecast shortage of nurses is between 260,000 to over 1 million.

On top of this, over a million nurses are expected to retire by 2030, resulting in massive loss of seasoned expertise just when all baby boomers become 65 years old and above. That means an increased demand will transpire for healthcare services in the country. This will be a big wave of nurse staffing shortage coming. The Journal of Nursing Regulation reported that it would be felt by the healthcare industry even in the years after.

The vision of healthcare facilities is to take care of patients in the best way possible to help them live long and healthy. However, this is an immense task if you’re having trouble filling adequate staffing for every shift. Considering what is forecast to be the future of nursing, taking preemptive steps to secure optimal operational and staff capacity can help protect patients down the line and mitigate potential risks to their health caused by understaffing.

At the end of the day, prevention will always be better than cure, right?

STRATEGY AND RESILIENCY AMID A NURSE STAFFING SHORTAGE

The way to serve your patients best is to be ready for the worst staffing situations. So how can you better prepare for the nursing crisis? Time to get ahead of the game and predict your staffing needs.

Foresight and strategy are the secret recipes to ride the coming wave in nurse staffing shortage. Predicting your needs so that the quality of patient care you deliver remains excellent and never suffers should be part of the priority list. Moreover, it’s about mitigating potential health risks by ensuring that you have enough nurses to take care of them properly, 24/7.

When considering your preparation, you need to measure your operational vacancies and explore your staffing options.

Here’s how.

Adopt a predictive staffing model.

When predicting your operational vacancies, it’s essential to consider not just the current open positions but also unexpected absences caused by vacation leaves, maternity leaves, and medical training. You can do this by analyzing historical data and attendance logs and then generating reports that can help you gain foresight into the potential nurse staffing shortage that you may experience along the way.

Having a ready strategy to fill unforeseen needs on top of open vacancies will allow you to cover all your bases without resorting to frequent staff overtime. Here’s how you can calculate it:

  • Extract 3 years’ worth of historical data.

  • Pull out the recorded leaves, including paid and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves.

  • Then, compute the total average of paid and unpaid leaves per month.

  • You can follow the formula below:

Current Open Positions + Average paid leaves + Average FMLA + Total of trainees – Contractual labor = Operational Vacancy

Note that this computation should cover all your workforce, whether full-time or not (training or temporary). One good practice is to review this data quarterly, so you can take into account any leaves that have already been filed in advance.

Adopting a predictive staffing model can help you weather any staffing storm because it puts you in the best place possible when it hits. If anything, the most vital benefit of this staffing model is that it puts you more in control of your patient care.

You can be more equipped to provide your patients adequate service and quality care with nurses at the top of their game.

Implement proactive workforce management.

Information without action can lead to complications. So, once you know your potential staffing needs, your next step should be preparations.

You can make a big difference in minimizing workflow disruptions, staff turnovers, and risks to patient care when you take a proactive approach to your workforce management. Proactiveness is especially important, considering that recruitment can be time-consuming and taxing. With the US experiencing a local nursing shortage in its workforce, outsourcing overseas registered nurses from culturally-nurturing countries like the Philippines is the next step. However, the process involves plenty of paperwork to be filed.

Getting the service of a healthcare staffing firm can ease this for you as they take care of all your staffing needs from sourcing to job offers. Since they continuously scour the globe for well-trained nurses, they have a ready pipeline that they can tap into. Plus, they know their way around administrative and embassy requirements to manage all the paperwork with ease.

All you need to do is let them know what they need, and they’ll deliver it to you.

But even with the expertise of healthcare staffing firms, sometimes processes can take up to a year. So, it pays to get in touch with a healthcare staffing firm as early as now to plan before the gap in your nurse-to-patient ratio increases.

BE EQUIPPED WITH A READY PIPELINE OF EXCELLENT NURSES

PRS Global understands that because your job entails saving and taking care of lives, there’s no room for errors, and time is of the essence. Knowing how many nurses you need and making strategic steps to bridge the staffing gap is a smart move to help you thrive even amid a nurse staffing shortage.

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to provide you with highly compassionate, excellent, and well-trained nurses ready to make a positive impact in the lives of your patients as soon as possible. Remember that what you do today impacts the quality of your patient care tomorrow.

Talk to PRS Global and let us partner with you in enriching lives, one nurse at a time.