What are the Solutions to the Nursing Shortage in the US?
Stress, fatigue, and burnout are taking a toll on the world’s medical practitioners. Because of these and COVID-19’s persistence variant after variant, health workers like nurses have dwindled in number. With US medical institutions grappling with combating the ongoing nursing shortage, it’s challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, after medical institutions recognize the need to tackle the shortage of nurses, the opportunity for a new start peeks through.
New nurses would mean a fresh outlook on how to go about this era of precaution and awareness. Additionally, there’s promise in this new generation of health professionals. They can be molded and trained to prepare better for whatever may come after the virus has been contained for good. After all, the healthcare staffing shortage is an opportune time to correct wrong practices and old ways in recruitment and employee retention.
Medical institutions can take this as a challenge to improve in many ways. Presented here are various solutions to the nursing shortage, particularly for US healthcare companies.
Double down on hiring and recruitment efforts.
Many employers have fallen victim to the shortage of healthcare employees during this pandemic. As a result, nurses opted for early retirement or left the profession to take care of their families or find a job with a better sense of fulfillment. While it’s true that nurses felt overworked and underpaid in the past two years, there’s a notable rise of prospective students in nursing schools. With knowledge of the nursing shortage came an influx of interested individuals to fill in the gap. These youngsters probably saw their place in the world as future nurses to help a world massively damaged by COVID-19.
There are points for improvement here for your company to consider. First, you have to review your employees’ benefits for new hires and as they stay longer with your institution. Starting with the job offer, some hospitals have opted to shell out $1,500-$5,000 per new employee as a sign-on bonus.1 Next, level up your offer on nurses’ benefits. Ask these questions:
- Why would it be a great idea to retire with your company?
- How often can employees go on leave?
- How about performance incentives?
You may research what hospitals, or companies in other industries, are doing to reward workers who stay long with you.
Finally, go straight to the source of new nurses: the schools. Medical organizations usually partner with nursing schools for an internship, so you might also want to consider striking a conversation with these students to work straight with your company right after graduation. Offer incentives such as paying and assisting for their nursing licensure exam and review, plus the sign-on bonus mentioned above.
Promote a culture of support within your organization.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. This tenet held especially during the pandemic, as everyone had bouts of exhaustion. With extended shifts and the number of patients growing exponentially, nurses feel tired physically, emotionally, and mentally. The typical days off and improved benefits may not be enough for nurses to feel supported. When nurses are not met with the same care and concern they give to their patients, they leave as an employee would.
Many companies have instated mental health programs during the pandemic. With the network of medical professionals your institution has, it would be easier to come up with wellness programs that offer, at the very least, welfare checks with mental health professionals. Your institution may even consider granting “mental health leaves” for your nurses to take perhaps one shift off just to relax and recollect.
Lastly, give them time to talk to them and let out whatever concerns they have. A listening ear is a good start for them to unburden themselves and leave room for appreciation. Of course, recalibrating your schedules may be challenging since you have clients and patients to take care of, but little acts like the one mentioned would mean a lot to your nurses.
Aim for magnet status.
Another means to help retain employees is to be part of the best companies out there. To do this, hospitals and other entities that employ nurses can target the Magnet Recognition Program, which hails medical institutions eligible for the “magnet status.” To have magnet status means to meet top standards when it comes to encouraging nurses to be the best they can be. Magnet hospitals can allow nurses to flourish in giving excellent patient care, participate with interprofessional teams, and contribute to scientific discovery and sharing of knowledge in medicine.2
The magnet status is simply the gold label for hospitals and medical institutions. To have this citation communicates to nurses that you take good care of them and let them partake in forwarding the causes of the medical field. Any nurse who would like to stay in this profession for long will want to be in a magnet status institution for the rest of their career.
To start, look into how much your company is willing to give to your nurses as their salary point. For example, nurses at magnet status companies earn 4.8 percent more than their non-magnet counterparts,1 so better do some calculations if you want to grab the magnet status label. You may also invest in funding for your nurses’ continuing education. Think of funding their seminars, workshops, and master’s degrees as a means to groom future leaders who will train new nurses. Finally, take note that when a nurse’s published research is linked to your institution, that’s a big plus point in recognizing your company’s efforts to contribute to science.
Working towards magnet status may seem like hard work. But once your medical institution has achieved it, nurses will be coming to you instead of the other way around.
REACH OUT TO PRS GLOBAL TO HELP YOU WITH THE NURSING SHORTAGE.
A staffing agency knowledgeable in gathering nurses with international backgrounds and ushering them into a life in the US? That’s PRS Global. While reaching magnet status and recalibrating employee incentives are still viable options, using PRS Global’s resources for recruiting nurses can be your company’s contribution to stopping the staffing shortage.
PRS Global can scout the world for nurses interested in working in the US. Moreover, they take care of new hires’ concerns as immigrant professionals through the Bright Horizons TM Program and assist with relocation, licensure preparations, and attending to legalities, such as immigration and citizenship. PRS Global also has processes in place to always look after these nurses in acclimating to a new work environment for as long as they serve as medical professionals.
Amid the global healthcare staffing shortage, your company can definitely appreciate a helping hand in employing more nurses, so contact PRS Global now.