Hospitals around the world are facing severe staffing shortages. Although the pandemic did stretch thin the capabilities of an already dwindling nursing staff, it is partly to be blamed for the current workforce deficiency in the hospital setting. However, the reasons for this may be varied, but the fact remains, that the gap seems to be unbridgeable.
Efforts are being made to close this gap, yet it has been an uphill battle so far. Unless the shortage is addressed, the healthcare sector will have trouble keeping up with requirements to provide care. In the meantime, the health sector has to make do with whatever is at their disposal.
Here are a few tips that the healthcare and other industries facing staffing shortages can incorporate:
- Keeping Students Informed About Job Requirements
Filling a nursing role requires a certain level of educational qualification. Nurses can easily pursue lucrative career options nowadays when all they have to do is apply themselves in nursing courses and degrees. Healthcare institutions can provide nursing students with information about the requirements of various roles in a hospital setting, which will make the students take degree courses that can better complement their career aspirations.
Even on-job nurses can upskill with the help of online-degree programs. A bachelor of nursing can pursue a master in nursing online to stay relevant for more senior roles in the nursing profession.
- Fierce Competition To Fill Staffing Roles
There is an intense competition among hospitals to fill staffing roles with suitable candidates. The best nurses are in high demand and each hospital will try to get them on board their staff. To make nurses come to you instead of you actively pursuing them, you need to make the roles attractive enough. This will involve getting their attention through offering benefits or perks. Meanwhile, you should also pay due attention to the needs of the staff that you currently employ, otherwise, they might be inclined to leave if neglected.
- Training Nurses at In-house Training Workshops
Not all nurses will have the same level of expertise, education, or even talent, and you need to incorporate training drills that should bring out the best in them. It would help you in the long run if your institute looked into mentorship programs and training workshops to upskill the staff. Making sound investments in your staff for the future expansion in healthcare capabilities should be on top of any medical care provider’s list of priorities.
Leading with a proactive approach of training and supervising unqualified nurses now can lead to huge cost savings later in the future. It will also take care of your staffing woes in the process as you’ll have a steady stream of qualified nurses passing through the hospital’s in-house training programs.
- Offer A Better Workplace Environment
Extensive workload can cause nurses to burnout. Due to the shortage of staff, nurses are always overbooked which leads to work-related stress and mental fatigue. Often senior staff would overburden their juniors with more work which often leads to exploitation of the nurses and a toxic work environment. If a healthcare organization wants to retain and attract nurses, it should strive to eliminate toxic and manipulative practices in its work environment.
The administrations of the healthcare organizations should heed the grievances and suggestions put forward by nurses. Bullying, harassment, and work-related exploitation are issues that need serious consideration from the administrations and policies around addressing these issues should be developed.
Finally, to avoid the onset of burnout, patient cases per nurse need to be reduced so that they can provide the best healthcare to the patients assigned to them.
- Letting Them Find Balance Between Their Personal and Work-Life
Everyone has a life outside of work. Meeting up with friends, visiting family and relatives, taking care of children, and a whole list of other personal commitments are a part of everyone’s life outside of work. However, stringent work policies in healthcare settings can adversely affect the work-life balance of nurses.
Little gestures to facilitate and accommodate the nurses’ needs and wants can go a long way in retaining them.
- Ask Nurses To Make Referrals
Asking nurses to make referrals can help you hire the right talent for the job. Instead of actively looking for nurses, ask the nurses on staff to recommend best suitable candidates for the vacancies at your organization. This will save time and resources.
Staff shortage is a big problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Nursing programs and courses are constantly providing a steady stream of would-be recruits; however, this number is still too low to address the supply problem. Measures highlighted in this article can go a long way towards addressing this issue.