Quite often on this site we talk about the healthcare employment landscape from the perspective of patient care and nursing shortage statistics. There are a lot of things that current and prospective nurses can do on their own to increase job satisfaction. Timely tips for avoiding burnout can be a lifesaver, but we also wanted to approach the topic of healthcare employment from the perspective of healthcare recruiters. We figured if we went out and got this perspective, it would invariably help illuminate the larger goals of the healthcare system for nurses who are looking to advance their careers.
After all, there is widespread recognition that the broader goal is to deliver high quality care services to patients and fair compensation to nurses and healthcare professionals. Even within the parameters of finite resources, there is an optimal allocation of resources and equities to deliver a high quality of care today’s patient and a sustainable system to ensure basic healthcare competencies for tomorrow’s patient. All that being said, here are three issues we identified by getting the following perspectives from healthcare recruiters.
Schedule Flexibility and Easy Commutes for Nurses and Families
Healthcare providers have to market their medical practice to nurses and doctors who provide care services, as well as the patients who receive this care. More than ever, today’s patient is looking for convenience and easy scheduling as much as anything, especially when it comes to basic health and family medicine services. This has led to new nursing positions at urgent care and retail health clinics. At the same time, hospitals and specialty care providers are merging into huge healthcare networks with increasing opportunities for nurses to work at multiple locations and/or transfer positions for added schedule flexibility and easier work commutes.
We talked with Greg Meadows, CEO at Rocky Mountain Urgent Care and Family Medicine. With six different urgent care centers in Denver and Boulder metro areas, Meadows discussed how expanding the business with new locations has helped reinforced the company’s healthcare mission. “We place a strong emphasis on local convenience and scheduling flexibility for patients and families. People can walk-in to our urgent care clinic or make an appointment with our family medicine practice. We also try to provide convenience and flexibility for our incredible staff, but one of the things you learn is that not all nurses and doctors are looking for the same thing. Some of our employees stick to one location. Other employees enjoy the ability to pick up extra shifts at our various clinic locations.”
Filling Positions with Mandated Training, Certifications, and Competencies
Time and time again, we talk to nurse managers who describe how they have the perfect person for the job, but they fail to meet certain training and certification requirements established by the medical community—or that particular health provider. Often, people have reached a place in their personal lives where they are unable or unwilling to go back to school or into a training certification program with a significant time commitment. Other times, the health provider simply can’t wait to fill the position. This is one caution about leaving nursing school too soon.
Nurses with advanced degrees aren’t just in greater demand. More demands are placed upon them. This is a direct consequence and filter-down effect of the growing shortage in doctors as well as nurses. This is something we learned at our time with the Nurse Journal: “Both nurse practitioners and physician assistants hold advanced degrees and provide direct patient care under the auspices of a physician. [Both] have gained a greater level of independence as a growing number of states have relaxed requirements related to physician collaboration and oversight.”
Recruitment vs. Incentivization Creates a Tricky Balance
The nursing shortage means that healthcare providers have to make considerable investments in staff recruitment efforts. For a healthcare network of even modest size, this can mean millions of dollars each year just getting potential hires to apply to nursing positions. That’s millions of dollars that doesn’t go into the pocketbooks of nurses and is one part of the systemic cost inflation the healthcare industry has been struggling with for decades.
It can be helpful to think of nursing jobs as the “product,” and then read up on the difference between product marketing and product management. In discussing the creative marketing work her firm has done for healthcare clients in the Hudson Valley area, Eve Ashworth of Ashworth Creative says, “We have these types of conversations with healthcare clients all the time. Balancing outreach and marketing with employee compensation and perks is often critical for the most effective recruitment strategies.”
Getting Inside the Head of Healthcare Recruiters
We hope these insights and interviews have provided some help to nurses in conducting a more successful job search and, ultimately, greater job satisfaction.