The increasing need for nurses in healthcare facilities is threatening to become a serious problem the people of the USA will have to combat. The issue came to the foreground in 2020 when we were first faced with the nasty coronavirus pandemic that endangered the American health system. The high number of patients equaled a higher demand of nurses to assist and provide the patients with the best medical care possible. If that’s not enough, many generations of nurses have reached the retirement age and are ready to say goodbye to their scrubs.
With the health system under strain, there is an increase in open nursing job positions in the USA. However, it seems that not many young nurses are jumping at the opportunity to step up to the task. That means healthcare institutions have to change their treatment of nurses and make them feel more appreciated because we often take the profession for granted. So, what exactly can the authorities do? Read below to find out how to reduce the nurse shortage and inspire more young nurses to send their CV.
Make them feel welcome
The first day of a new job is always nerve-wracking, so it’s important to feel welcome and accepted by your colleagues. If a company or organization has a well-developed onboarding process, it results in higher employee retention. Therefore, making new nurses feel appreciated and part of the community will keep them working in that healthcare facility.
The onboarding process doesn’t have to be complicated at all. For example, having good mentorship is of the essence when starting a new job. That’s why it might be a good idea to assign a mentor to each newly employed nurse. The mentor can be an experienced nurse who’ll know the best advice to give as she has already gone through the process.
Incentives and Perks
Who doesn’t love a good employee benefit? We all want to see that our efforts are being recognized and that the extra work we did was not in vain. If you expect your employees to work during weekends or take an extra shift if necessary, you need to incentivize such behavior. How can one introduce incentives in the medical field?
For instance, it’d be a good idea to develop some type of reward system to celebrate your hard-working nurses. When the nurses work overtime or night shifts, they get a certain number of points, and you can consider these when you’re promoting your nurses. The nurse with the highest number of points can be promoted to a managerial position, for example. However, the system only works if you incentivize positive and healthy behavior. Be careful not to encourage your nurses to come in sick or take on a bigger workload when they can’t handle it.
Life-long education and training
If you want to have high-quality medical staff, then you need to invest in their education and training. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to pay for your nurses’ BA studies, but it’s your task to keep them up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. That can be done by organizing webinars or conferences where the industry experts can share their knowledge and inspire young nurses. As nursing requires lifelong education, it’s recommendable to encourage your medical staff members to attend medical training.
Nowadays, the training is available online, so your employees can study while on their lunch breaks or whenever they have free time. Be sure to inform them of these opportunities, and they can take advantage of these courses to grow professionally. Not only will the course be a valuable learning experience, but nurses will also have the chance to acquire relevant ACLS and PALS certifications.
Last but not least, keep in mind that nurses, although capable of saving lives, are still humans that need to recharge their batteries from time to time. To avoid burnout, make sure your nurses have the option of taking a day off if they feel exhausted. Once they’ve got the necessary rest, they’ll be on top of their game. Also, most nurses have families, so have in mind that you have to alter the shift schedule to accommodate their needs.
For instance, many hospitals have introduced “mom shifts” (9 am to 2 pm) that allow working mothers to spend more time with their kids. Your employees will appreciate the flexibility and you won’t have to worry about employee retention.
The bottom line
Hopefully, some of the suggestions will solve the nurse shortage issue we’re dealing with. The government and healthcare authorities should realize the importance of employee retention and make their staff feel valued and appreciated. Medical facilities need to adopt innovative approaches and offer more flexibility that will result in a higher number of nurses and eliminate the current problem we’re facing.