As people live longer and require more healthcare services in old age, the demand for nurses is rising. And even before COVID-19, we faced a rising nursing shortage due to other factors, such as high turnover, too-few nursing educators, and a lack of family care benefits. Now that more nurses are leaving the profession due to burnout and stress, we need some kind of intervention.
Employers need solutions to the nursing shortage. But, as with many things in life, quick fixes are not enough, and the solution is more complicated.
Let’s explore some realistic nursing shortage solutions to help organizations fight the shortage and its inevitable impact on healthcare professionals, patients, and the entire profession.
Nursing Shortage Solutions for Employers
Here are some things employers can do to start changing things.
According to a policy brief from the International Council of Nurses (ICN), over 70 percent of National Nursing Associations (NNAs) say their countries are working to increase their number of nursing students. However, that still leaves 3-4 years between new nurses as students complete school. At the same time, other pressing matters related to the shortage remind
While governments will need to address some areas, employers are responsible for making changes in others.
Prioritize Support for Current and Future Nurses
As employers wait for nurses in training, they should put their efforts into retaining current nurses, recruiting new nurses intelligently, and encouraging former nurses to return. That means developing smart recruiting and retention strategies through:
- Improved working conditions
- Better pay and benefits (including family care benefits)
- Protecting nurses’ safety on the job
- Providing adequate psychological support to address trauma, burnout, and other mental health issues
- Addressing the gender gap in nursing to ensure fair pay
This all means fostering a healthy work environment for everyone. Maybe that includes setting up a wellness area for hospital staff to relax, sleep, and eat during breaks. Other ways to support team members and create a space workplace include:
- Fitness memberships
- Healthy snacks
- Virtual counseling
- Wellness workshops
- Leadership development
- Childcare assistance
- Regular “mental health days”
Organizations should ask themselves what nurses genuinely want and need to stick around. Widespread answers are a healthy work environment, reasonable workloads, more work-life balance, recognition for a job well done, and promotion and continuing education perks.
Consider what you can offer employees to make you a more desirable and supportive place to work.
Offer Education and Career Development Opportunities
Healthcare organizations can help boost hiring numbers by making it easier for nurses to complete their education and pursue career goals. For example:
- Tuition reimbursement
- Integrated education programs
- Housing assistance
- Flexible schedules that work around class times
- Childcare assistance
- On-site leadership development programs
- Internal career paths
- Certification training
These workplace benefits can help employers attract, recruit, and retain nursing staff by supporting them with their long-term goals.
Lean on Data and Digital Marketing
Make sure your recruiting and marketing methods are data-driven and target your ideal candidates. Find out what nurses in your area want most from an employer, and tap into those areas in your policies, workplace environment, and recruiting and marketing efforts.
Alabama Media Group knows how to reach nurses. We specialize in finding quality nurses who are looking for you. That means bringing you candidates who fit your culture long-term through the right messaging at every step. Learn more by contacting us today.