What Staffing Shortages in Nursing Homes Means for You
Is your facility short on healthcare professionals? If so, you’re not alone (and if not, hooray for you!)
It seems like every day there is a new article in McKnight’s, Senior Living and other publications highlighting the nurse shortage post-pandemic.
Just today: Skilled Nursing Workers ‘Putting out so many Fires,’ Forced to Wear Multiple Hats, Increasing Burnout Rates. Or this: Staffing Shortages Driving More Public Nursing Homes to the Precipice.
Healthcare Numbers are Stark
Labor statistics gathered by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, about 99% of nursing homes and hospitals and 96% of assisted living communities are currently facing some degree of workforce or staffing shortages (AHCA/NCAL).
More and more nurses are seeking higher pay, the ability to work as travel nurses, and overall more flexible hours than what nursing homes and care facilities are currently able to offer, resulting in over half-million nurses making the career decision to leave long-term care facilities since 2020 according to Skilled Nursing News. The mass exodus of nurses has put long-term care facility leaders in the country in an extremely challenging place, especially considering that wage rates are going up while reimbursement rates stay very low.
How will the nursing shortage impact your care facility, both now and in the long run?
While the nurse staffing shortage carousel might make you dizzy and seem like it will never end, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s look at the main challenges of the nurse staffing shortage, and how to overcome them.
Learn how it’s possible to offer high quality care, maintain well-trained, full-time staff, limit burnout, keep patient satisfaction and increase revenue for your facility.
Challenge#1: Maintaining Continuity of Care
At the heart of the staffing crisis is a confluence of market and societal conditions. We have a rapidly growing aging population. The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the difficulty of the nursing care profession.
The process of hiring new nurses takes time in even normal conditions. Now, with so many nurses leaving the healthcare industry and profession all together, the hunt for a registered nurse or certified nursing assistant to staff these positions at your facility is even more challenging. Add on the fact that you’re now competing with tech companies who want to ‘Uberize’ the nursing industry, and well now it’s really an uphill battle.
When a full staff of registered nurses can’t be maintained, the working conditions of all nurses become difficult. There simply aren’t enough qualified nurses to allow for a healthy work-life balance. The full-time registered nurses on staff have to work long hours and lots of extra over-time – which hurts staff and the facility through extra costs. The conditions for nurses must be improved drastically for your facility to offer the highest quality of care that residents of long-term care facilities deserve.
It’s also pretty obvious to patients and their families when nurses are not satisfied with their working conditions, or when there simply aren’t enough caretakers employed.
Hence, why the skilled nursing industry is at a critical juncture.
Challenge#2: Recruitment, Hiring, and Training of Healthcare Professionals is Costly and Time Consuming
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You spent hours crafting the perfect job description, thinking through how to identify your ideal candidate and writing beautiful, glowing reviews about your facility. You put up ads for CNAs, LVNs, and registered nurses on all of the job boards. You spent money to boost their visibility on LinkedIn (but you’re not even sure if you set a high enough budget or what the ROI on your advertising is). Maybe you even went the extra mile and created posts on FaceBook and Instagram (and the extra, extra mile if you made a video and posted it to TikTok!). Maybe you even got permission from your Admin or CFO to offer a sign-on bonus ($5,000 after 6 months of employment!) – plus health benefits, PTO, and even college or school tuition reimbursement.
You blocked out time on your calendar for interviews. Then you went through all of the back-and-forth with scheduling and rescheduling times. You dealt with a couple of no-call, no-shows (best to weed them out early!), but finally, you started the interview process. You had a hand full of decent candidates and maybe, just maybe, a few that you got really excited about. You made reference calls, then worked with HR to put together job offers. You set up a beautiful training schedule in a spreadsheet, dusted off the training manual – maybe updating some graphics and policies – then with anticipation, you welcomed your new staff to your facility. They filled out all of their employee paperwork, and listened as you covered all of your facility policies. Everything went great for the first week, but then they suddenly missed a shift without notice, and have ghosted you ever since.
Whew! That’s a lot just to type, let alone to actually go through it. Going through one hiring cycle is daunting. But the thought of going through it over, and over, and over again is exhausting.
No one wants to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of hiring, interviewing, onboarding, and training a team – while purging revenue at every turn.
Challenge#3: Retaining Staff Once You’ve Hired Them.
So let’s talk about that turnover rate. According to Skilled Nursing News, it takes about 100 days for nurses to settle into a new care facility. During those few months, the turnover rate is the highest, at around 40%. With almost half of newly hired nurses leaving nursing homes within 30 days, there’s an enormous amount of pressure to keep finding new replacements.
The Employment Policy Foundation calculates the total cost of turnover per employee at 25% their total compensation. So for a nurse making $38,400 annually and receiving $50,025 in total compensation (after benefits), the turnover cost would be $12,506.
How do you balance meeting the needs of your full-time staff, managing staff turnover, while managing the daily tasks of running a long-term care facility? It’s hard to offer flexible hours, time-off, and good benefits when there aren’t enough nurses or revenue to keep up with the standard of care.
That’s where hiring the right staffing agency can change everything!
Solution: Partner with a Nurse Staffing Agency Experienced in Flexible Healthcare Staffing
If you’re looking to fill in your staffing gaps, keep your quality of care high, and increase job satisfaction for staff, DirectCare Shifts is the solution you’ve been looking for. DirectCare Shifts offers real, long-term solutions for healthcare professionals and nursing home providers.
DirectCare Shifts is a flexible and on-demand healthcare staffing platform that offers you access to a highly-qualified pool of reliable CNAs, LVNs, and RNs.
Short-term placements enable you to keep continuity of care for your residents, while decreasing overtime and burn out of your existing staff. We also provide immediate and emergency staffing relief through per-diem nursing shifts, so all of your staffing gaps get filled, whenever you need.
Looking for full-time staff with low turnover rates?
DirectCare Shifts provides top jobs, excellent benefits and freedom for our workforce and our healthcare providers to have the work-life balance that creates stable, enjoyable working conditions.
DirectCare Shifts is the affordable answer to this nursing home staffing crisis. Whatever your staffing needs are, DirectCare Shifts can help get your nursing home back on track with sustainable solutions. Let’s partner together to keep care quality high for senior patients and residents of long-term care facilities.