The Nursing Shortage: How to Alleviate Expected Challenges
In a 2019 survey conducted by AMN Healthcare, it was revealed that there are (at the time of writing) several internal factors that are negatively impacting the ongoing nursing shortage.
In this survey, AMN Healthcare surveyed nearly 20,000 Registered Nurses (RNs) from all around the United States, attempting to identify challenges that nurses and other healthcare service providers will face throughout the next decade or more. Ultimately, it was determined that an ever aging population coupled with a significant number of RNs that plan to retire within the next few years will only put more strain on and exacerbate the nursing shortage.
A Breakdown of the Nursing Shortage Study
This survey indicated that approximately 33% of RNs identified as baby boomers, and that 86% of those baby boomer RNs are planning to retire by 2025.
What Do the Numbers Say?
Due to a static number of college and middle-aged nurses, the pool of replacement RNs will be extremely restricted, adding to and magnifying the nurse shortage. The U.S. population is essentially aging faster than job markets can fill these gaps in nurses.
The survey also concluded that more than 20% of RNs hold more than one nursing job. Of those with more than one job:
- 7% said both jobs are full-time
- 20% indicated that working two jobs negatively impacts their quality of work
- 40% claim that working multiple jobs negatively impacts the quality of their home and social lives
- 66% said that they are worried about the workload negatively impacting their health
In addition to the decrease in quality of care and the impact on their health, the pressure and time sink of the job continues to raise concerns among nurses for their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Job flexibility and work-life balance were the largest influencers for 39% of respondents as to whether they would stick with their current job. The next largest influencers were compensation and benefit packages.
Despite 81% of respondents stating that they were satisfied with their career choice, 44% said that they still often feel like resigning.
What Can Be Done to Address the Growing Shortage?
With so many negative factors influencing nurse job satisfaction, it might seem impossible to provide a nursing alternative for hospitals that would help to increase the work-life balance of nurses, while reducing their workload to a point that they can focus more on the quality of care that they offer.
Partnering with a medical call center that offers 24/7 coverage to patients would allow hospitals and physician groups to utilize existing teletriage nursing channels to alleviate additional stress on their RN staff.
A telephone triage service could significantly reduce the amount of work required by RNs, which would allow them more time to spend focusing on their patients, not only improving the quality of care offered, but also improving job satisfaction, work-life balance, and job retention rates of RNs.
Unfortunately, the nursing shortage won’t be going away anytime soon; in fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. Finding the right medical call center partner, though, can help to mitigate the shortcomings and pitfalls in the coming years.