Much is being written about the employment crisis happening in healthcare, where many clinicians are reexamining their choice of a healthcare career and considering big changes. Though the roots of this problem are years in the making and related to longstanding issues in the healthcare industry, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the choice of many healthcare staffers to consider abandoning caregiving.
Clinical Departures for Other Careers and Retirement
A May 2021 article from CNBC offers that recent studies show “between 20% and 30% of frontline U.S. health-care workers say they are now considering leaving the profession.” Another study found “that four in 10 (43%) nurses are considering leaving their role in 2021 — a figure that is higher among ICU workers (48%).” In addition to career changes, accelerated retirements are also a looming possibility. A similar UK survey of doctors about their careers revealed that “Close to one-third (31%)… said they were now more likely to retire early, while a quarter (25%) were considering taking a career break and around one in six (17%) said they would rather work in another country.”
Improving Clinical Employee Satisfaction
There’s never been a more important time for healthcare organizations to improve clinical employee satisfaction in an effort to keep vital healthcare employees in their jobs, at a time when they are needed like never before. Here are some recent examples of ways organizations are working to improve the healthcare employee work environment:
- A Clinical Nurse Transition Program – The Advisory Board shares that Yale New Haven Health has instituted a system of personal coaches for newer nurses during the vulnerable time after their preceptors are no longer playing a primary onboarding role. According to the article, “New RNs participate in the program for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years, depending on how long their orientation is and their specialty.” This program “helps new RNs feel supported and evenly assess each situation.” Importantly, participants “have a constant support system throughout the night shift, and they know that if they get into any kind of situation where they're uncertain or overwhelmed... they have a resource that they can rely on.”
- Virtual Nursing – HealthLeaders shares that MercyOne Des Moines recently installed a virtual nursing program “to offset nurse shortages and, when the pandemic hit, to protect staff and patients.” The program works “Using videoconferencing technology and dedicated devices in each patient room, … [and] virtual nurses assist bedside nurses by monitoring the unit from a remote digital center.” This role takes some of the staffing pressure off the nurse team, covering such activities as interdisciplinary rounds by teleconference, care communications, chart review, medication reconciliation, and patient education, and more. According to the article, while “the virtual model is beneficial for units that may be short-staffed or have several newly graduated nurses, busy floor nurses taking care of five or six patients particularly welcome the assistance and support that virtual nurses provide.”
- Making Scheduling More Flexible – According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “Pandemic challenges also resulted in more focus on the well-being of nurses. It's become more important than ever to offer flexible work schedules to boost nurse satisfaction. “ Shorter shifts and different start times have proven to be attractive to clinicians. For example, Trinity Health is making it possible for nurses to work in “the health system, in which they are treated like a travel nurse in terms of flexibility.” According to a doctor at Trinity Health, “the demands of people's lives are changing what they need from their job, particularly the scheduling and where they commit their time.”
HealthStream Solutions for Improving Nurse Satisfaction
Employee-friendly measures, like increasing compensation and supporting nurse scheduling that is more conducive to work-life balance, are an important part of the effort to improve Nurse satisfaction and retain the existing nurse workforce. Nurses are more likely to stay if they feel confident in their skills and knowledge, as well as their preparation for providing care. HealthStream helps facilitate two nursing competency-related programs that support greater job satisfaction.
- HealthStream Nurse Residency – Provide newly hired nurses with an educational scaffolding required to build knowledge, skills, attitudes, and critical thinking. This 12-month program begins with 12+ weeks of intensive blended learning, followed by ongoing monthly sessions designed to build upon what the resident nurse is experiencing in clinical practice.
- Jane® Competency Development – HealthStream’s Jane® is a digital mentor that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to measure competency across the knowledge and clinical judgment domains. This powerfully intelligent tool seamlessly incorporates Knowledge Assessments, AI Critical Thinking Assessments, and a comprehensive CE library to allow for the identification of key personal competency gaps and how to fill them.
Learn more about HealthStream clinical development solutions.