This blog post is taken from a recent webinar moderated by Caroline Acree, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Clinical Development and featured Trisha Coady, HealthStream’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Workforce Development Solutions. The webinar focused on what is likely one of the most compelling topics facing healthcare leaders today – the ongoing (and worsening) staffing challenges faced in healthcare and how to leverage technology to help address those shortages and protect your organization’s reputation in the community.
Coady began by laying out the current staffing issues being faced by healthcare leaders – a situation that is somewhat grim and has been made worse by a pandemic that has left healthcare organizations facing significant staffing challenges and looking for solutions in places they may not have looked before.
Hospitals faced historically-high turnover in 2021, increasing by 1.7% to 19.5% with nursing seeing an increase of 2.8% for a total of 18.7%. In addition, the American Hospital Association has predicted that hospitals will lose a staggering $54 billion in net income over the course of this year. The number is perhaps not particularly surprising as labor costs have skyrocketed. Coady shared that US hospitals are paying $24 billion more for clinical labor than they were prior to the pandemic. In addition, overtime pay increased by 52% and the use of temporary labor was up by 130%. “This is just not sustainable going forward,” said Coady.
Making the situation somewhat more daunting is the fact that there is a significant mismatch between the number of graduating nurses and the number of nurses that are retiring or those who are simply choosing to leave the profession. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the issue is that approximately 66,000 qualified applicants were turned away from programs in 2020. Academic institutions cited two contributing factors – a lack of clinical sites and a lack of nursing instructors.
Coady gives surprising advice to healthcare leaders. She encourages them to “lean in” to these changes and embrace new solutions. Coady identified three areas on which to focus.
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