Jul 7, 2021 2:58:11 PM | 4 Min Read

The Nurse Shortage: How Talent Acquisition is Addressing the Gap

Posted By
Chris Nichols
The Nurse Shortage: How Talent Acquisition is Addressing the Gap

According to the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing), the US is expected to experience an intensified shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs). Why?

The nurse shortage in America is a critically important issue having an immediate and significant impact nationwide on healthcare providers, caregivers as well as the patients they serve if positions remain unfilled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has forecasted the following issues, among others:

  • Increased mortality rates
  • Longer wait times for hospital admissions
  • Decreased nursing capacity in schools
  • Patient overcrowding in emergency rooms and ICU
  • Food safety risks due to insufficient staffing levels at restaurants and supermarkets

What are the specific problems we are seeing in the nurse shortage that pose the greatest threat to our workforce?

Ratios are Off Balance

The nursing industry will soon have more openings than applicants. Although there is no way to avoid the predicted nurse shortage, you can improve your chances of filling those positions by understanding the intensity of the problem and taking action to address past mistakes.

The great news is that AACN reported a 5.1% increase in enrollment (2019), however it will not be sufficient enough gains in future nurses to meet or accommodate the demand. Versatility in your candidates will be important, and soft skills will present themselves as greater priority in this climate.

Predictions and Preparations

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the nursing profession would experience a shortage of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/VNs) reaching over 1.2 million workers by 2020. As of 2015, the BLS had increased its estimates significantly, projecting a national shortage of registered nurses to reach nearly 2 million over that same period.

Heavy reliance on agile characteristics and the candidate’s willingness to lead and problem-solve will be a great benefit to teams impacted by the shortage.

Skillset Shifts

Could the healthcare industry ever have been prepared for the events of 2020 and its compounding impact? Today, with a global pandemic sweeping nurses away from their training to step into COVID-19 units has only exacerbated the problem, putting even more pressure on your talent acquisition and recruiting teams. These pressures include shifts in priority for requirements of a new hire has moved from experience to necessity and how quickly a candidate can adapt and provide value in a crisis.

AACN mentions in the efforts to combat this prevailing issue, nursing schools are forming strategic partnerships and seeking private support to help expand student capacity, as well as support healthcare educators to encourage the growth and interest in this sector.

Conclusion: Looking Ahead to 2030

How can we look ahead today, and create a new path forward to course-correct the job market and career interest for nurses?

We know for certain today that the nurse shortage is projected to continue to grow in the US through 2030. The South and the West seem to be the forecasted areas in greater need according to the authors of this registered nurse workforce report.

Taking these steps to address the nurse shortage for its various reasons will improve your patient outcomes, gain a better reputation in health care and build your team with the best and brightest!

Topics: COVID-19, Talent Acquisition, Data, Nursing, Market Analytics, Healthcare

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