When it comes to numbers within the healthcare workforce, nurses make up the lion’s share. Before the pandemic, registered nurses made up 30% of total hospital employment in 2019 with over 1.8 million jobs. The post-pandemic era of healthcare is anticipated to see nearly 195,000 openings for registered nurses each year on average for the next 10 years.
That number of openings is linked in large part to urgent need and more patient demand. 100,000 nurses left the profession in 2021, and as many as 1/3 of nurses are currently contemplating leaving. Healthcare facilities continue to struggle with not only meeting staffing needs but also amping up retention efforts.
Those efforts should be rooted in one simple idea: listening to nurses.
Amplifying the voices of nurses
Nurses on the floor navigate exhaustion and burnout, patient safety concerns, lack of appreciation, and immense pressure in real time. They are in tune with not only their needs and their patients’ needs but also plausible solutions to address them. For many nurses, navigating these issues starts with flexibility.
When nurses feel empowered to speak and facilities listen, they gain new opportunities to make a difference. Highlighting their voices in decision-making processes shows respect for their expertise and solidifies support for them as they deliver compassionate care.
Taking what is learned from listening to nurses is the first step. Providing support as your facility tackles retention and taking action on behalf of their needs is where your facility can shine.
Prioritizing flexibility in healthcare
Flexibility is crucial to keeping nurses in the workforce because it “allows them to schedule around their personal lives and step away when needed.” Our CEO and founder Will Patterson blogged about redefining the workforce this summer:
“The modern nurse has a new definition of flexibility. What is the new definition of flexibility? Based on what healthcare professionals have shared with me over the past few months, it’s best summed up as control. They want control:
- over when, where, and how many hours they work
- minus the traditional constraints of minimum shift requirements
- without forced overtime and countless communications begging them to come to work
The new generation wants to be their own boss.”
Check out more from Will during his October 11th Becker’s Healthcare podcast. There he will detail the power of listening to nurses and other healthcare professionals and share how this strategy can impact your facility.