With the nationwide shortage of human personnel in the occupation of nurses, it is proving increasingly challenging to secure services and labor to fill vacancies in healthcare parastatals. Establishing hospitals, health and research center face significant difficulty in recruiting nurses to work. At first thought, salaries may be assumed to be the determining factor, but more often than not, money is just one piece of the employment shortage puzzle.
Nurses and clinicians are the primary healthcare givers and their importance at many points in the health sector cannot be overestimated. Non-profit institutions, public and private hospitals have lamented the shortage of qualified nurses in a time so critical, and even the traditional incentives aren’t doing much to land anyone. If the problem is really to be tackled, the roots have to be evaluated and such solutions will involve the equipping of nursing schools to increase the quality and number of graduates to ensure that the emerging number suffices the growing demand for nursing personnel.
The challenge can even be tighter for nurses who have to relocate to attend to their new jobs. Merely weighing in the cost of a movement, convenience and accommodation can be a threatening factor for hospitals and healthcare establishments that require nurses, and as such several innovative means have been employed to attract potential employees. One of such instances is the case of the free accommodation offered by the WVU medicine, which helped to draw many job applicants from outside West Virginia who had no inclination to relocate. The Chief Nursing Officer of the WVU medicine, Doug Mitchell further revealed that so far, several hundreds of nurses have taken advantage of the 44-room dorm before securing permanent accommodation or as a temporary accommodation for several visiting clinicians.
The challenge in the nursing system is purely personnel-related. Several nursing schools produce a significant amount of nurses every year, but this achievement is majorly overshadowed by the rising number of professionals needed every year. As the healthcare system inevitably expands, and with the ballooning increase in the country’s population, there is a need to have more hands on deck to cater for those in need of nursing medical services. Several other options have been mentioned by scientists, including the massive introduction of robotics into the healthcare sector, but there has been a limiting factor in the feature of empathy.
As feelings cannot be programmed, there is a lack of trust in the ability of many robot devices to tend to patients in the ever-dynamic changing situations. So far, robots have been employed in prosthetics, pharmaceuticals and many other sectors, but serving as an alternative and option to tackle the immediate nursing crisis seems like something that we might see in the nearest future at best. Freelance nurses and part-time options are also being explored in a bid to meet up with the health care needs of many patients, but the real issue as earlier stated lies in the upgrade of the system and infrastructure to produce more nurses at a rate that rises to meet the demand of the health care sector.
Promotion of nursing in elementary and secondary schools with curricula that does well to highlight the benefits and opportunities are instrumental in helping to build dreams of the younger generation towards the profession. The shortage in the nursing system also hovers around the perception of the profession as “feminine”; more often than not, most male take a more solid interest in becoming doctors and hold the perception that the role of caregiving is majorly confined for females. If there was an equal distribution of both sexes among the profession, there may yet be a significant increase in the number of nurses available in the United states and the world at large.
The American Nursing Association already predicts that the United states alone may need no fewer than a million nurses to care for both the youth and aging and also replace retiring nurses. Nursing schools have also highlighted several challenges in the lack of certified and qualified teaching personnel which has led to the rejection of tens of thousands of interested and qualified applicants; the lower rate of admission also translates into lower income that can be directed towards growth, recruitment and development of the much-needed expansion infrastructures. In view of the challenges, many qualified baccalaureate and graduate nurses are saddled with the challenge of gaining admission into a limited number of space.
The severity of the shortage is highlighted by the high amount of incentives designed to lure nurses in; even at that, hospitals are dealing with more than just solving the problem of shortage. As difficult as it is to hire in the competitive market, it is also quite challenging to retain more nurses every year. There is also a shift in the profession that has seen more and more nurses elect to switch from inpatient nursing to outpatient services, which has had the effect of leaving most healthcare establishments and hospitals with a shortage in dealing with the eroding number of patients, especially with Obamacare. The shortage has led to the shutter and cut back of available bed spaces and resources and severe overtime of many of the available nurses and clinicians in what has left many in need of healthcare not promptly attended.
Hiring incentives are popular during the hiring process and have evolved over the years. Incentives are very important in securing high quality professional in a tight and competitive market. Nowadays, nurses and clinicians are getting more enticing offers than before; the trend has cut across many factors such as price and salaries, training, vacations, accommodation, loan forgiveness programs and even gifts. Many four-figure sign in bonuses have quickly been replaced with five-figure offers and the trend doesn’t seem likely to stop anytime soon.
Some health systems offer nurses the prospect of free nursing degrees to train their current crop of staff or those who will volunteer to be nurses; while this is very healthy, it significantly cuts into the income and profit of some of the private healthcare services which will in turn increase the expenses and charges on patients in order to strike balance. A Missouri health system notably offered a sumptuous loan forgiveness program for potential nursing staff which is also a form of financial motivation. The WVU medicine played the accommodation card to aid the mobility and relocation of incoming nurses and clinicians. Another notable effort in terms of materialistic reward can be seen in the case of a Kentucky hospital that offered new nurses that signed for work a chance to win a brand new model 2017 Ford Mustang convertible car.
With the growing competition, these incentives play a key role in determining where new nurses sign up for work, and also ensures that older and existing nurses stay under the employment of hospitals and healthcare systems. Amid the national shortage, hospitals that are going to survive will need to adopt a “whatever it takes” mentality and come up with well-designed and attractive packages to fill the available vacancies of nurses in sector whose demand doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.