Collaborative Approach to Address the Nursing Shortage

Collaborative Approach to Address the Nursing Shortage

Here at MRINetwork, we’re all too aware that the nursing shortage continues to impact the healthcare industry across the United States. A shortage of dedicated nursing schools combined with an aging workforce means more nurses are retiring while fewer are receiving the relevant qualifications.

However, other factors are at work, from post-pandemic burnout to long, unrelenting shifts with poor work-life balance. Also, nurses of ethnic minorities face additional challenges that start in college and continue throughout their careers.

Related reading: Addressing Diversity Gaps in Healthcare Recruitment

Healthcare providers who want to fix their nursing shortages could consider taking a collaborative approach to help address the overall shortage of nurses nationwide.

Prioritizing Partnerships

Nurses require training, education, and safe places to work. Healthcare organizations need access to highly qualified team members. McKinsey suggests that one solution is for healthcare providers to partner with existing academic institutions. Their research shows that by 2030, there could be a gap between qualified professionals and industry demand of over 800,000 people. By creating joint ventures with educators and nursing schools, healthcare firms can invest in particular pathways to encourage more students to participate.

Healthcare entities can also create partnerships with dedicated staffing agencies. Working with recruitment experts who have a deep understanding of the healthcare industry can help firms source the nursing staff they need.

Advocating for Change

Various outlets blame the COVID-19 pandemic for nursing burnout and employee churn, but there are multiple factors at work. Policies within healthcare systems and shifting patient care focus points have all contributed to the hospital nurse shortage. Team members leave because they can’t handle the various pressures, even when they say they still find the work meaningful.

Organizations that want to make lasting change need to look at these policies and see what can shift:

  • Are there ways for nurses to have reduced workloads?
  • Is the workplace culture conducive to open discussion and reducing conflict?
  • Can nurses provide feedback about their own working situations?
  • Are policies unwittingly discriminatory or contributing to poor mental health or burnout?

Changes of a financial nature are also needed. We already mentioned nursing schools, but funding for on-the-job training and upskilling could help ensure equitable workloads. Whatever investment companies make now to address the required changes will surely have a significant ROI in the future.

Engaging Stakeholders and Community Members

The above point about listening to feedback from nurses is critical. Qualified nursing staff know what the problems are with their jobs and may even have great ideas on how to fix them. A top-down mentality without any recourse for feedback from patient-facing employees is unsustainable. It means there will always be a disconnect between what healthcare managers believe is happening and what is actually happening. Engaging regularly with the nursing community, both locally and at large, can help changemakers focus their efforts accordingly.

Other stakeholders may also have important views. Patient feedback and suggestions from experienced healthcare investors can be instrumental in implementing change.

Sharing Lessons Learned

As we embark on this collaborative journey to address the nursing shortage, sharing best practices is the only way to ensure that winning strategies are implemented across the board.

Many innovators are already working on handling the nurse staffing crisis. Grapefruit Health has created a digital platform and network that engages clinical students, connecting them to healthcare organizations that then utilize their skills remotely. They learn as they go, handling medication adherence, health risk assessments, and even compassionate care for isolated patients.

Teresa Sanderson, a veteran registered nurse (RN), wants to help change the working environment for nurses via emotionally intelligent communication. She endorses continuing education for nurses and supports both educators and healthcare organizations with this. She also believes that creating positive working environments helps nurses feel empowered to speak up when things are tough, rather than simply leaving the role.

By advocating for our nurses and sharing what’s working for them, we could bridge the talent gap and backfill nursing shortages on a significantly truncated timeline.

MRINetwork is a highly experienced healthcare staffing resource. Talk to our team about any concerns and see how we help healthcare organizations find the right employees for their teams.