The United States is in the middle of a crisis for nursing talent, with a critical shortage of nurses that is expected to continue through 2030. While RN recruiting has always been a complex process, it seems to have gotten even tougher in recent years. Many factors contribute to this, including the aging population, insufficient resources at nursing schools, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we will investigate the challenges of RN recruiting and discuss strategies organizations can use to overcome these difficulties.
RN Recruiting: A Growing Shortage of Nurses
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, America's nurses have shown bravery and dedication in front-page newspaper stories across the country. However, the pandemic has also strained nurses and the healthcare system due to a lack of personnel and resources. The nursing shortage facing American healthcare organizations before the pandemic only worsened due to COVID-19.
Given the increasing demand for healthcare support across various specialties, reports project that 1.2 million new registered nurses (RNs) will be needed by 2030 to address current healthcare demands. While nursing schools and graduate programs are working to increase the number of RNs they produce each year, they are still unable to keep up with demand. As a result, nurse recruiting has become more difficult than ever before.
Why Is There A RN Shortage?
The nursing shortage didn't occur overnight. It is the result of many factors that have been building up over time. A few factors contributing to the supply and demand of nurses include:
- An aging population: As the baby boomer generation gets older, they will require more healthcare services. The aging population is estimated to double by 2060 leading to a strain on RN staffing levels. The aging population also effects the availability of nurses since many of them will also be retiring over the next decade.
- Insufficient resources at nursing schools: According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing program applicants have been turned away due to inadequate resources such as faculty numbers, clinical sites, classroom space, and finances. This shortage of qualified instructors leads to a lack of new, qualified RNs.
- The COVID-19 pandemic: The pandemic has had a significant impact on RN staffing levels. The increased demand for healthcare services has put even more pressure on RN staffing levels. Nurses have faced increased stress due to the work environment. And a recent survey of 6,000 critical care nurses reported that 66% considered leaving the profession.
These are just a few of the factors that have contributed to the RN shortage. With many challenges working against RN recruiting, organizations need to be innovative in how they find the RN talent they need.
How to Overcome RN Recruiting Challenges
Innovative drives success with RN recruiting. Organizations willing to embrace new strategies and fresh perspectives will have the greatest success sourcing and hiring the best RNs. Here are a few strategies that can make RN recruiting efforts more effective:
Emphasize Career Advancement Opportunities
RNs are looking for more than just a job. They want to be part of an organization that offers career growth and development opportunities. When recruiting RNs, emphasize the career advancement opportunities that your organization can offer. This can include mentorship and transition-to-practice programs.
Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits Packages
Employee compensation and benefits play a major role in attracting top RNs. So, be sure to highlight the full range of benefits you offer to RN prospects. This can include health insurance, retirement savings plans, tuition reimbursement, and paid time off. Also, make sure that your compensation package is competitive for your industry. You don't want to lose talent because your compensation is below market.
Provide Flexible Schedules
A recent International Council of Nurses survey found that 93% of healthcare workers in the United States were experiencing stress, and 76% reported exhaustion and burnout. RNs are no exception. To attract RN candidates, offer them a work/life balance with flexible scheduling options. This can include part-time, full-time, and shift work. Flexibility is an appealing quality of many open RN positions.
Highlight Workplace Safety
With the COVID-19 pandemic, RNs are looking for workplaces prioritizing patient and staff safety. When recruiting RNs, highlight the safety measures your organization has in place to protect nurses. Safety protections can include PPE, infection control protocols, and vaccination programs.
Partner with Expert Niche Recruiting Agency
If you face RN recruiting challenges, it may be time to partner with a healthcare recruiting agency. Working with an expert medical recruiting agency can help your organization find your needed RN talent. Nurse recruiters have the knowledge and expertise to identify qualified nursing candidates, reduce time-to-hire, and develop a nursing candidate pipeline.
Nursing shortages have affected the United States since the early 1900s. Each shortage had several causes, ranging from world wars to economic downturns. But the extent of the current nursing shortage, announced in 2012, is greater than ever before in the United States. For that reason, healthcare organizations are seeking the help of RN recruiting agencies to find qualified nursing talent.
At Hire Velocity, we understand the unique hiring challenges of the healthcare industry and emphasize patient care. No matter what talent needs you have, we partner with you to optimize your talent acquisition strategy, from entry-level roles all the way to the C-suite. Contact us today to help you overcome your RN recruiting challenges.