Looking back on my career as a nurse, my favorite job was transporting patients in the back of an ambulance. The job itself was not particularly interesting. It was the flexibility in nursing that was appealing. I worked as an independent contractor and I was in complete control of my schedule. I enjoyed the flexibility that this offered to modify my work schedule around my personal life.
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.
Redefining flexibility for nurses
Modern nurses value this new definition of flexibility so much that they are willing to leave the bedside forever and pursue other careers that offer them this. From this, we’ve seen:
- more than 100,000 available RN jobs - that’s more open jobs than any other profession
- more than 500,000 experienced RNs have retired from the profession since the beginning of the pandemic
If offering healthcare professionals this new definition of flexibility keeps them in the industry, then this is what healthcare systems must offer to reduce attrition and to take care of the patient population.
The good news for healthcare systems and patients is that flexibility in staffing will benefit them as well. Unpredictable demand with COVID-19, the flu, and an aging population has forced hospitals to look for flexible staffing solutions. Labor represents 60% of healthcare systems costs. Flexible staffing reduces fixed costs, which saves healthcare systems money. The new definition of flexibility is a financial win for hospitals, as it reduces burnout for the modern nurse and creates a staffing model that better meets patient demand in real time.
Fostering a successful flexible work culture
What steps should facilities take in order to make flexible work a reality for this new generation of healthcare professionals?
- Define a new culture around flexible work. Policies and procedures must change to support a new flexible workforce.
- Source technology like CareRev. This will enable onboarding, scheduling, and credentialing for an external workforce. It will also create more flexibility with your current workforce, helping them to recover from burnout and putting a practical solution in place to help prevent it going forward.
- Offer cross-training and educational opportunities. This will help attract retired nurses who are interested in picking up shifts and nurses who were sidelined due to caregiving obligations during the pandemic.
At CareRev we’ve helped multiple healthcare systems achieve the new definition of flexible work and foster this new future that modern healthcare professionals desperately need to stay active. We continue to invest in technology to give more flexibility and control to our healthcare professionals and to empower our healthcare systems.
Because healthcare is such a demanding industry, change can be daunting, but it is necessary in healthcare now more than ever. Nurses have created their new definition of flexibility, and CareRev is enabling it. The great part of this change is that everyone wins: nurses, healthcare systems, and patients.
Are you a healthcare professional or are you part of a healthcare system who is looking to engage in the new definition of flexible staffing?
CareRev can empower you to get there.