Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry was facing some serious workforce challenges. An aging workforce, projected nurse shortages and a sharp rise in demand for high-skilled professionals all represent serious healthcare recruitment challenges in a strategic sense. And in the chaos of the pandemic, effective solutions have never seemed more elusive.
While it’s true that the pandemic has intensified existing difficulties while introducing an entirely new set of challenges, it’s also true that solutions are in place to alleviate some of the more pressing concerns. Here’s a rundown of the most serious healthcare recruitment challenges confronting leaders and planners in the months and, likely, years to come — as well as a quick look at potential solutions.
5 Urgent Healthcare Recruitment Challenges and Solutions
Challenge #1: A Shortage of Nurses
Over the past decade, experts have consistently warned that demand for skilled clinical workers was outpacing the supply. Even as the number of nurse practitioners increases, the number of new registered nurses is failing to keep up with “projected future needs,” as Health Affairs has pointed out.
There are a number of reasons for this, including an aging population that will require more of the type of care delivered by RNs. This is a population that tends to be older, and with a growing prevalence of chronic diseases. And many of the professionals who might otherwise pursue a career as an RN are now becoming NPs because of the expanded career and salary opportunities.
What’s the solution? The pandemic has only intensified the shortage of nurses, particularly those working in acute care settings. And the fact is, skilled RNs will always be in demand, and their availability limited on a regional basis. Partnering with a recruitment company with a nationwide network of nurses available for virtually any setting and assignment type means seriously reducing the risk of lacking enough RNs to deliver quality patient care.
This kind of partnership is especially helpful to rural facilities. Workers can be reluctant to accept assignments in unfamiliar or remote settings. But a trusted health recruitment company like CareerStaff is able to provide the consistency and 24/7 support of a trusted employer, giving them the confidence and peace of mind they may need to work assignments where they’re really needed.
Challenge #2: Burnout and Compassion Fatigue
Even before the pandemic, burnout and compassion fatigue were on the rise among nurses. According to a March 2021 study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, Covid-19 has accelerated that challenge, making nurse burnout “a crucial issue.” And this can take a measurable toll on any facility, contributing to missed shifts and a higher rate of attrition.
What’s the solution? The JAN article recommends a number of solutions, including “screening for mental health illness and early supportive interventions for high‐risk nurses, immediate access to mental health care services, designated rest periods, social support through hospital support groups to reduce feelings of isolation, sufficient personal protective equipment for all nurses to provide security etc.” Our own experts offer their recommendations here.
> From sensitive scheduling to active education, here are 7 tips to reduce nurse burnout and compassion fatigue.
Challenge #3: Growing Demand for Telehealth Services
The pandemic has seen a striking increase in the use of telehealth. That’s no surprise, given its ability to let patients and clinicians interact virtually — a must in the age of social distancing habits that will likely linger. And with the CMS rapidly expanding reimbursement for these services, facilities that haven’t yet adapted to digitally delivered care now face an intensified challenge of not only adapting, but having to do so at a lightning pace.
What’s the solution? Partnering with a healthcare managed services provider (MSP) gives facilities not just the benefit of the use of workforce systems that are technologically up to grade, but also access to huge network of healthcare professionals experienced in telehealth and virtual care. Employment networks like CareerStaff also encourage clinicians to get acquainted with new technologies, and offer reimbursement for continuing education (CE) credits to that effect.
Challenge #4: Increasing Administrative Complexities
Whether it’s licensing, credentialing, background and FACIS checks or other forms of verification and screening, the administrative overhead is particularly high in healthcare recruitment. Again, the pandemic has only intensified these challenges. Emergency measures put into place by licensure groups to expedite the licensing of nurses, doctors and other essential workers has helped relieve the pressure. But these stopgaps have hardly made the process any easier to navigate.
What’s the solution? By offering an automated approach to many of the most time-consuming aspects of workforce management, healthcare MSP can seriously reduce the workload of existing staff. Providers like CareerStaff offer solutions that span the range of workforce needs, from sourcing and scheduling to payroll processing. And that doesn’t just save budgeting dollars but also increases the chances of finding and hiring the best possible candidate for each open position.
Challenge #5: The Rising Cost of Skilled Workers
In addition to general shortages, it’s always been a challenge to find top talent for some facilities. Some specialties are notoriously difficult to staff even in areas where talent is highly concentrated. For rural and remote facilities, even finding qualified primary care workers can be a difficult task — no small concern at a time when many of these facilities are already operating deep in the red.
It should come as little surprise that the best, most qualified workers are increasingly concentrated in the urban areas offering them the most lucrative compensation. And that’s driving the cost of these professionals higher across the board.
What’s the solution? For many facilities, it’s fundamentally difficult to find the help they need from the local labor pool without experiencing the common extra expense of paying for high-price temporary workers. One solution is to partner with a nationwide healthcare recruitment company — a solution that provides not only an instant network of thousands of nurses and clinicians, but also a means to keep expenses consistent, even when faced with serious spikes in utilization.
On top of that, healthcare MSP doesn’t just keep expenses predictable, but can put all of the myriad obligations of healthcare workforce management into a single line item in your budget. That includes not just sourcing and interviewing, but onboarding, scheduling, payroll management, and a variety of other aspects of clinical workforce management,
Seeking New Solutions to Your Healthcare Recruitment Challenges?
CareerStaff Unlimited is proud to offer the solutions you need to meet today’s most pressing healthcare recruitment challenges — and then some. Contact us today to find out how to leverage our nationwide network of skilled, trained and highly motivated clinical professionals to help you provide the best possible patient care.