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Nursing recruitment

Learn how to compete in a nursing shortage

BY: Eileen Williamson on October 3, 2018

Over the past several years, forecasters have been predicting there’s another nursing shortage on the way. If the old rule about what happens when demand is high, and supply is low still holds, those forecasts were correct.nursing shortage

The demand for nurses is high, and in many geographic and practice areas, the supply is low. Is it time to start gearing up for what may be ahead and start bringing back some of the recruitment initiatives — even the financially painful ones — we used in past shortages?

According to the latest data, this is likely a “here we go again” moment.

A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found 46% of healthcare employers said the role they struggled to fill above all others was that of qualified registered nurses.

According to The American Nurses Association, there will be more registered nurse jobs available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States.

Employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15%) than all other occupations from 2016 through 2026, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 report. The bureau also projects 1.1 million additional nurses will be needed to avoid a further shortage.

In addition, the care needs of our aging baby boomer population continues to grow. Approximately 1 million RNs “are older than 50, meaning one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024,” according to an article in The Atlantic.

Nursing shortages come and go

Nursing shortages are cyclical. One year we’re in one and a few years later we are not. They are also geographic in occurrence and don’t hit at the same time in every city or state.

For those of you who are having difficulty recruiting nurses right now, maybe it’s time to look at initiatives you used in past shortages. Those of you who may not yet be affected can continue with your current hiring practices for now.

What’s important to understand is what the nurse recruitment trends look like on a nationwide basis. National trends will begin to reach everyone at some point.

  1. Stay in touch with the research.
  2. Connect with news on the shortage.
  3. Remember the question: As a nation, do we have enough nurses to care for the patients in our healthcare system?

The most current statistics and signposts say we do not have enough nurses right now.

News about the nursing shortage

If we are heading into a major nursing shortage, you know the drill. Many of you have been through shortages before, and you remember what your facility had to do to get nurses.

It seems everything old is new again, and the news we’re hearing and seeing is similar in different areas of the country. Here are a handful of headlines:

What you can do to stem the shortage

Keep abreast of the news, prepare and be ready. Also, make a point to share the things you’re adding to your current recruitment programs with recruitment organizations.

Here are some incentives you can offer that have worked in the past:

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Housing stipends
  • Loan forgiveness
  • Increasing salaries
  • Better benefit packages
  • More tuition reimbursement or paid continuing education

And take another look at all the facts and figures we put together for you earlier this year. Remember, we’re all in this together.

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Eileen Williamson

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, is a former senior vice president and chief nurse executive at OnCourse Learning, where she led nursing programs and initiatives. She continues to write and act as a consultant for Nurse.com. Before joining the company in 1998, Williamson was employed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, where she held a number of leadership positions in nursing and hospital administration, including chief nurse at two of the system’s member hospitals. She holds a BSN and an MSN in administration, and is a graduate fellow of the Johnson & Johnson University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Nurse Executives program. She also is a board member and past president of the New Jersey League for Nursing, a constituent league of the National League for Nursing.