Winning the War for Talent in Healthcare

April 6, 2023
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* This blog is part of the Digital Trends and Transformation series. 


Spend any time in healthcare staffing, and you are acutely aware of the war for talent.

Traditionally, talent in the workforce has meant candidates with a higher skill level. In an expertise field like healthcare, that also means workers with the right mix of real-world experience and clinical expertise.

In a perfect world, with a stable workforce and a wealth of available healthcare professionals, you can take your time to evaluate your needs after an employee leaves. You can match the requirements to the available talent at your fingertips and then let the existing staff onboard and train the new worker.

But, as we know, the current situation is anything but perfect. It takes longer than ever to fill a position. Staffing managers struggle to find new employees, much less the needed skillsets. It’s a problem that seems to grow daily.

In a 2021 study by the Advisory Board, the average cost of RN turnover was $40K. That makes the estimated cost of turnover for just 30 RNs as much as $1.2 million – and that doesn’t account for future lost revenue if your hospital experiences reputation loss due to slow to no patient access.

Recruiting is a significant time and resource investment. But the cost of hiring mistakes can hurt operating budgets and continuity of care. Plus, recruiters and staffing managers are competing with other healthcare systems for a dwindling talent pool, adding to the complexities of patient care. It’s enough to raise the stress level of any healthcare staffing professional. 

The Healthcare Talent Crunch

The healthcare staffing shortage is creeping closer to dire levels. Turnover is occurring faster than many HR and hiring managers can manage. Many healthcare professionals are leaving the field, and at the same time, the global demand for healthcare professionals is increasing.

 ·   According to an article in The Lancet, 6.4 million additional doctors are needed in 132 countries worldwide to fill healthcare gaps, which burdens already taxed nurses and support staff.

 ·   In a recent research study by Health Carousel, nurses' feelings about the healthcare industry have changed since the pandemic. ​Of the surveyed nurses, 70% said they had a somewhat more or much more negative outlook on nursing after the pandemic, and 58% said they are feeling burnt out in their current careers.

·   The healthcare workforce is aging, with many specialties facing an imminent wave of retirements. Health Carousel’s research also found that 28% of the surveyed nurses reported a desire to exit direct patient care. Almost half of those nurses planned to retire or leave the workforce, creating a vacuum of acquired knowledge and real-world clinical experience.

·   According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, national demand for nurses is estimated to increase by 9% annually between 2020 and 2030. That means the U.S. needs to find an additional 194,500 nurses annually.

·    A recent study from the Advisory Board reports that hospitals lose an average of$90K per day in revenue when the facility is understaffed.

 These factors, and a growing population with chronic conditions, have led to a global talent crunch. In the face of these market realities and the war for talent, the tactics of the past aren’t going to work.

New Tactics, Strategies, and Partners in the War for Healthcare Talent

In this new reality, recruiters and staffing professionals must shift their approaches. You can’t rely on what worked just five years ago because that’s not the reality we’re facing now and doesn’t address predicted healthcare staffing shortages. There’s too much risk, and the headwinds are too strong not to embrace new mindsets.

Start by partnering with a staffing agency that looks at your immediate problems and finds solutions to stabilize your future workforce.

A staffing agency can significantly expand the available resources you have in recruiting. Rather than working with a small team that only has access to nurses in your community, you have an entire business focused on your needs and finding the best available nurses or allied health professionals in a global marketplace.

Consider your business growth and future operating plans. Look for an agency that can customize their services to your requirements. Find one that is focused on a long-term partnership rather than short-term fixes. Your agency should provide customized workforce solutions and resources, providing necessary support to get you to long-term workforce stabilization.

Seek out an integrated nursing model to provide end-to-end total talent management, including rapidly scaling when needed with flexible assignments and start dates. The needs you have today may not be your future needs. You want a partner who can work with you through these changes.

Finally, make sure to find a staffing partner who has invested in technology.

Technology and Healthcare Staffing

Just as the market for healthcare talent has changed, so has the capability and functionality of digital tools.

The ideal partner has invested in the future with technology that can act as an automated solution to recruitment and staffing across all specialties, roles, and skill levels. You should be able to rapidly scale traditional recruiting services and manage your workforce in a way that’s efficient, streamlined, and simple for you. It’s about access to the largest, broadest talent pool to get healthcare professionals to the bedside sooner. For true efficiency, look for a staffing company with a digital platform that lets you leverage real-time data to find the right new hire for your patient needs and culture – as quickly as possible.

Technology gives you more options and a clearer path toward success to win the immediate and future war for healthcare talent.

Overcoming the War for Talent in Healthcare

The talent crunch in healthcare has reached crisis levels in recent years and shows no sign of slowing in the future. The risk has never been greater for healthcare systems and their patients.

Luckily there are tools and resources available for overcoming this crisis. The flexible resources and digital tools available with the right staffing agency can greatly expand the reach and effectiveness of your recruiting efforts. Rather than relying on blind luck in hiring, you have more candidates and valuable data at your fingertips.

Finding the ideal candidate with the best talent is possible with the right partner at your side.

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About Health Carousel

Health Carousel is committed to partnering with world-class healthcare facilities across the country, providing rewarding assignments for Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and attracting the best internal talent at all career levels.