Hospitals Face Increasing Challenges as the Nursing Shortage Worsens
A recent survey by AMN Healthcare revealed several internal factors that are significantly impacting the existing nursing shortage – and not in a good way.
AMN Healthcare, a leading national workforce staffing company, surveyed nearly 20,000 Registered Nurses across the country to identify challenges facing nurses and healthcare organizations that will impact health care services throughout the next decade. The results paint a picture of a perfect storm: a rapidly aging U.S. population on a collision course with a tsunami of retiring Baby Boomer nurses, making the already-critical nurse shortage even more ominous.
According to the survey, 33% of RNs identified as Baby Boomers. Of those, 86% plan to retire within the next five years. Because the size of the college-aged and middle-aged nursing population has remained static, the pool of replacements will be significantly limited down the road. In other words, the U.S. population is aging faster than the job market can fill these gaps. As a result, RNs are finding themselves in less-than-ideal job environments.
According to the study, more than 20% of RNs surveyed hold more than one nursing job, while seven percent said both jobs are full time. One in five RNs with two jobs say the increased workload negatively impacts their quality of work. Nearly 40% say working multiple jobs negatively impacts their quality of life. Sixty-six percent said they are worried their workload was affecting their health. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said it was unlikely they would be working at their current job within a year.
In addition to the decreased quality of care they provide and personal health concerns, the pressures of the job are also raising concerns among nurses for their ability to balance work life with personal time. Flexibility and work-life balance had the most influence for 39% of nurses in whether they decided to stick with their job, while compensation and benefits was the next biggest influencer.
The negative effects are so great, that even though 81% of nurses were satisfied with their career choice, more than half (44%) said they often feel like resigning.
With all of these negative factors influencing nurse satisfaction and production, it may seem impossible to provide a nursing alternative for hospitals that would increase work/life balance while reducing their workload so that they can focus on quality of care. However, there is a simple and effective way healthcare organizations can address both of these issues without having to face the challenges associated with the nursing shortage.
Partnering with a 24/7 medical call center allows hospitals and physician groups to tap into an existing resource of RNs to provide support telephonically by:
Triaging patients to the appropriate level of care
Reaching out to patients post-discharge to ensure follow-up appointments are scheduled, prescriptions are filled, discharge instructions are understood, etc.
Utilizing these services would significantly reduce the amount of work required by RNs, allowing them to spend more time focused on their patients. This would not only improve the quality of care they provide, but would likely increase job satisfaction and improve work/life balance.
The nursing shortage isn’t going away any time soon, and the additional factors identified in the survey will only exacerbate the problem. Partnering with a medical call center will help healthcare organizations and physician groups navigate the rough waters ahead and provide the ideal opportunity for quality care and staff engagement.