As if the current nursing shortage weren’t enough, there’s more bad news on the horizon for the healthcare industry. According to the recent AMN Healthcare 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses, the wave of retirements among Baby Boomer nurses is already underway. The survey reveals that nearly three-quarters of Baby-Boomer nurses who are planning to retire say they will do so within the next three years, adding to the shortage problem that already exists in many areas. According to the AMN survey, 48% of nurses themselves say shortages have worsened in the last five years, compared to 37% in 2015.
While the imminent retirement of many Baby Boomer nurses is no surprise, it’s nevertheless certain to have a huge impact, particularly for long-term care facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that that the healthcare industry will soon become the nation’s largest employer. In its Employment Projections for 2016-2026, BLS projects nurse job openings to average 204,000 per year over the next decade. Other projections include an average 624,000 job openings a year for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. For non-clinical healthcare support occupations, another 635,000 average job openings per year.
Coping with Compliance
Payroll-Based Journal audits are a reality, and are driving the increasing need for accurate PBJ reporting. A 2017 study1 of 1,200 California nursing homes, published last week by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, revealed that 6 percent inflate their self-reported measures. This type of inaccurate reporting can have severe consequences.
A shortage of nursing staff, as well as a high rate of turnover, can negatively affect your facility’s overall quality of care. You can get “dinged” on two of the three CMS categories if your staffing levels are below par. Maintaining adequate staffing levels is crucial for protecting your facility’s Star Rating on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare site — and, consequently, for protecting your organization’s reputation.
How to Get Ahead of the Staffing Curve
With competition for skilled nurses stiff, and human resources staff stretched thin, LTC facilities need every advantage when looking to attract top talent. An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps streamline the recruiting process, from job posting to onboarding.
When evaluating an Applicant Tracking System, here are some things to look for:
- Easy posting to job board and social media channels
- Customizable workflows to match your business practices
- Integrated background checks & E-Verify
- Full electronic onboarding, including custom onboarding documents
Yes, Baby Boomer nurses are retiring at an ever-increasing rate. However, with a solid replacement strategy in place, facilities can mitigate the fallout.
1Han, X., et al. Winning at All Costs: Analysis of Inflation in Nursing Homes’ Rating System. Production and Operations Management (2017), https://doi.org/10.1111/poms.12804
About the Author
David Schrader is a Product Manager at SmartLinx Solutions, responsible for WorkLinx Human Resources and Applicant Tracker. He has 20 years of experience designing, building, and delivering software solutions across numerous industries.