Healthcare Recruitment Trends: What to Expect in 2021 (and Beyond)

Last Updated on November 30, 2021

Healthcare professionals walking down a healthcare facility with clinicians around

Even before the pandemic, many healthcare facilities were struggling to recruit nurses and clinicians, especially in rural and remote areas. Now, with Covid-19 showing no sign of easing, that strain is changing the healthcare recruitment trends in the years to come. Here’s what you should know to keep your facility as prepared as possible.

And The Healthcare Recruitment Trends Dominating 2021 Will Be…

The difficulty of filling essential roles in rural area is nothing new. In fact, it’s been one of the most persistent driving forces in the healthcare recruitment trends of the past decade. The recent surge in telehealth funding and swift utilization of virtual care have helped meet this challenge; yet there’s still a fundamental difficulty for many of these facilities to find the people they need to provide essential hands-on care.

There are several factors behind this problem. First and foremost, the impact of Covid-19 has been enormously disruptive, particularly in regards to frontline workers. Finding RNs and CNAs skilled in the ICU setting and in post-acute care has become difficult. A handful of important specialists like respiratory therapists are also in short supply.

The use of travel nurses and clinicians has increased dramatically to help meet this need, as has the utilization of emergency measures making it easier for retired professionals and recent graduates to help out. With cross-state licensing also eased at the moment, essential workers can more readily move to the areas that need their help. Yet even these solutions are wearing thin as Covid-19 — and its demands on the number of beds needed to treat infected patients — continues to spread almost without restraint.

And it comes at a time when the supply of skilled nurses was already exactly robust. Although details on its severity have varied over the years, there’s little debate that demand for RNs is outpacing supply. As recently as September 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected job growth for RNs at 7%. Not only is that officially faster than other professions, it also comes at a time when applications for entry-level nursing programs are growing at just 5.1%, per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

And, as Tamara Lytle pointed out in an article for HR Magazine, the problem isn’t just acquiring new talent. Also contributing to the kind of high turnover in those facilities are factors like burnout, the constant need to retrain new recruits, and inconsistencies in applicable state laws and their licensing requirements.

In addition to nurses and essential clinicians, recruiting administrative personnel has also become difficult for many facilities. The reliability of third-party vendors has sometimes been called into question, too. It’s clear that the healthcare recruitment trends dominating 2021 will require solutions related not just to the availability of clinical workers, but also the working of the entire the entire workforce management process.

2021’S Healthcare Recruitment Trends Are Here. Is Your Facility Ready?

Let’s face it — these healthcare recruitment trends we’re seeing represent serious challenges, and there’s no magic-bullet solution to make them go away. However, there are some methods of shoring up your own risk levels to the best of your ability. These include implementing policies designed to:

Entice workers to your facility. During a time when skilled nurses can pretty much choose their assignment, such enticements can include flexible contracts, signing bonuses and, of course, premium compensation.

Improve the culture and conditions for staff members. Of course, the better your ability to retain the workers you already have, the less you’ll need to recruit new members. Taking the time to improve your culture and general work conditions is important, including raising pay for nurses and workers already on your team.  
» Don’t miss: How to detect burnout and compassion fatigue — and what to do about it

Embrace contingency staffing. Contingency staffing can give your facility access to a broader workforce. Using temporary workers like travel and per diem nurses to meet seasonal spikes in utilization is a well-established method of healthcare workforce planning. In the era of Covid-19, it’s become even more important as a means to access a larger network of workers that goes beyond your immediate location or hiring reach.

» Does your facility need travel or per diem nurses? Fill out our quick nurse staffing request here.

But how can you find the contingency staff you need when the entire system is experiencing shortages? Because of the shared nature of the nation’s healthcare professionals — grown even more so because of the easing of cross-state restrictions — the strain on the supply of nurses and other clinicians is being felt everywhere. The Covid-19 crisis has only intensified this demand. It’s increased the scarcity of these valuable workers, too.

Yet there are ways to position your organization for better access to those essential workers. Many organizations are finding that, by partnering with a healthcare managed services provider (MSP), they have far more options for recruiting the nurses and clinicians they need to maintain optimum patient care.

To this end, companies like CareerStaff specialize in providing access to a nationwide network of workers available on a contingency or permanent basis. They also offer a complete, customized mechanism for sourcing, hiring, recruiting, onboarding, paying and providing quality benefits for those workers.

At CareerStaff, we understand that there are no perfect solutions — the challenges of the day are far too complex. But working together, we can craft a service based on your specific organizational needs, while bringing your workforce management up to date.

We’re standing by to help your facility for the healthcare recruitment trends that matter in 2021 and beyond — contact us today for details.

Let’s Connect