It will probably come as no surprise to you that healthcare organizations are facing a critical shortage of nurses, and 91% of nurses believe that the issue is getting worse.
While the past few years have been a struggle for healthcare providers worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is not the sole cause of the issue. Other key contributors include a greater proportion of healthcare workers retiring and not enough new nurses to take their places, and inadequate funding of nursing programs. With all of these elements coming together, we find ourselves in a perfect storm.
While these issues can be difficult to resolve directly (there’s only so much you can personally do to affect the macroeconomy, right?), there are steps that you can take to help combat it. Let’s explore them together.
So First Off, Why Is This Happening?
In a nutshell—demand is going up, and supply is going down. Yikes.
Without adequate support, many nurses are facing extreme levels of burnout. To make matters worse, many prospective nurses have faced obstacles becoming officially registered, as nursing schools themselves have faced inadequate staffing, teaching facilities, clinical sites, and funding. And while many aspiring nurses haven’t been able to finish their degrees, recently registered nurses are also not starting their careers in hospitals. The American Journal of Nursing stated that more nurses are working as managers while enrolled in formal education programs.
While the size of the shortage is difficult to quantify exactly, the consequences can be easily seen and felt throughout the country. With data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bloomberg reports critical staffing shortages in about 16% of American hospitals as of October 1, 2021. McKinsey reports that the situation will become dire by 2030, as the shortage could reach 20% by that time. Some hospitals have already had to stop accepting patients and close down departments.
Another crucial factor of this nursing shortage is simply the increasing need for nurses due to a disproportionately aging population. The percentage of the 65-and-older American population is expected to increase from 16% to 23% and is expected to double by 2060. With this continued increase in the aging population, more nurses are inevitably needed.
What’s more, the average age of nurses is 52 years old. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old by 2030, and therefore many nurses will retire over the next few years, with a dwindling supply of Gen Z nurses filling in the gaps. Other reports state that nearly 1 million nurses indicate they are likely to leave nursing by 2027, which is equivalent to roughly 20% of the total licensed nurses in the United States.
What Can Be Done, as a Recruiter?
So you probably didn’t need that much convincing, but suffice it to say–the situation is not looking good. But rather than be completely gloom-and-doom, we’ve got some suggestions for how to help keep your head above water as you navigate through the challenges that come with hiring nurses right now.
We might be biased, but we believe that great hiring first and foremost starts with—you guessed it—great hiring practices. Take a look at improving your intake meetings as an important first step to optimize your hiring cycle. Then, speeding up your hiring process will help you identify and hire your best candidates faster. Talented candidates are only available for an average of 10 days when they’re job hunting, so the faster you can identify a qualified candidate, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to hire them. As an example of how quickly you could be identifying your top candidates, check out how Saint Alphonsus used Qualifi to shrink their candidate screening time down to 5 minutes instead of 30.
In addition to world-class hiring, be sure to also consider key steps to retain your nurses. About 60% of employees value benefits more than they value higher pay. Employers that offer a healthy work-life balance, wellness benefits, and open the opportunity for promotions are more likely to attract and retain top employees. Because nobody likes the feeling of trying to keep filling up a leaky bucket.
By understanding the reasons behind the shortage and implementing strategies to combat it, you’ll be able to more successfully attract and retain qualified nurses. And leveraging technology like Qualifi in your hiring process can help you identify the right candidates faster and more efficiently, saving you valuable time and resources. In fact, pop over to our ROI Calculator to see how much you may be able to save. We’re rooting for you!