No one can deny the health care sector has undergone a lot of upheaval in the last two years due to the pandemic. Even with staffing shortages, overcrowded hospitals, and the uncertainties of an unknown yet deadly virus, those who chose to care for others showed remarkable resilience and adaptability.
As we turn the calendar page to 2022, we recognize that recruiting health care professionals will be a critical task in stabilizing the sector. We should also recognize that the recent upheaval we’ve seen in the industry may have resulted in not just new trends but possible permanent changes in the recruiting process. This blog will address four of these trends.
Staffing Shortages Make Recruiting For All Positions Critical
The staffing shortage is the number one issue in the health care industry today. There is no indication that the shortage will lessen in 2022. It is estimated that 18% of health care employees quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, while another 12% were laid off. Among health care workers who worked through the pandemic, 31% have considered leaving. 79% of health care professionals said the national worker shortage has personally affected their lives.
The current staffing crisis is requiring health care workers to put in more shifts and longer days. It is also increasing the cost of providing health care in terms of raising salaries and paying for overtime. “The national staffing shortage is beginning to affect us in fundamental ways,” says Clifford (Cliff) Loader, CFO at Northern Arizona Healthcare. “At NAH, we currently have over 700 open positions. Not only is this significantly increasing our operational costs as we turn to ‘travelers’ or other contract employees to fill certain gaps, but it’s also affecting the operations of our nonclinical areas.”
The media tends to focus on nurses when talking about staffing shortages. However, in 2022, the shortages are predicted to affect all facets of the health care industry. For example, medical facilities are also in urgent need of patient care assistants, housekeepers, dietary aides, and laundry specialists.
Going back to the subject of nurses, in 2022 there will be far more registered nurse jobs open than any other occupation. That’s more than 100,000 positions per year. The shortages at most health care organizations are causing many experts to warn of a negative ripple effect across the entire industry. As the number of skilled nurses accepting and staying in medical jobs declines, both patients and other health care workers will be impacted. The day-to-day life-altering decisions and tasks that nurses handle are passed to other medical workers and could decrease staff efficacy and positive medical outcomes for patients. “When hospitals are understaffed, people die,” said Patricia Pittman, director of the Health Workforce Research Center at George Washington University, in a recent New York Times article. Nurses are so vital to health care that any changes or trials they experience in their jobs impact the entire sector.
Those nurses who are not leaving health care altogether are turning to travel nursing because they can earn significantly more money than traditional hospital roles. Medical recruiters are engaging in bidding wars for travel nurses, which have pushed salaries up to unprecedented levels. According to another New York Times article, one traveling nurse from Ohio estimates that he earns four times what he would make if he accepted a staff position in a hospital. A weekly paycheck could be more than $5,000, in addition to benefits.
As the pandemic continues and more nurses leave the sector, recruiters will need to find cost-effective yet creative ways to recruit and possibly retain traveling nurses to fill the gap.
Virtual and Remote Practices are Here to Stay
According to Gartner, 86% of companies used virtual interviews for recruiting during the height of the pandemic. Even when the need for social distancing goes away, the strides the sector has made in virtual technology will still be here. It is unlikely that we will ever stop the practice of virtual meetings and telehealth technology. Being able to connect candidates and employers thousands of miles away from each other has positive impacts on recruiting efficiency and communication. Recruiters with the ability to use virtual platforms will stand out above the competition.
Healthcare recruiters will continue hiring for remote work in 2022. Many organizations switched to remote work in early 2020 and will continue to do so. Remote work means that the hiring pool is expanded to a national level. This detail is crucial to overcoming some of the existing staffing shortages. Remote positions are not always for office staff or administrators. Certain clinical workers can work remotely when using telehealth and patient tracking technology.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
The pandemic is not the only thing on medical professionals’ minds. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within a workforce is a huge issue. DEI assures prospective employees that they can come to work without worrying about being themselves. These policies promote increased commitment, productivity, and collaboration in the workplace. These improvements will increase revenue and improve retention, a key issue in the sector. They also improve service as the patient base for many organizations become more diverse.
83% of candidates consider the diversity of an organization to be one of the most important factors when deciding where to work, or whether to accept an offer. There are steps that both recruiters and employers can take in the hiring process to ensure DEI-based hiring is practiced in the health care sector. Some of the steps include adjusting recruitment messaging, deploying HR technology to find and reduce biases, and offering flexible workplace logistics and policies.
Health care is a critical sector for our economy and our lives. As we turn the calendar page to another year, recruiters in the field will have a vital role in boosting the employment rate and bringing more medical professionals into the fold. Addressing these four trends directly will support the sector even more.
Don’t let the labor shortage minimize your business. If you need assistance with recruiting, Desert Medical Careers can help. Call (602) 468-6300 to get started.