It’s no secret that the nursing crisis continues to become more dire, impacting health care as a whole – including home health care. But honing in on nurses, and former nurses, when addressing the many challenges the industry is facing may be a way forward.
For context, by 2025 the health care industry will be short between 200,000 and 450,000 nurses. This is a 20% gap from what is needed based on patients and the way that care is delivered today.
Additionally, 100,000 nurses left the workforce in 2020, Bonnie Clipper, managing director at
Innovation Advantage, said during a panel discussion at the HLTH conference on Sunday.
“That number blows away any other number we’ve ever seen in a year,” she said.
Plus, there is a national average turnover rate of 27% in 2022.
William Patterson, who is the founder and CEO of CareRev and a former nurse, stresses that health care entities will need to seriously examine the culture at their organizations.
“How do we engage these health care professionals in the way they want to work now and bring them back into the system?” he said during the discussion. “How do we use technology to create more flexibility, so we can staff when the patients are there? This isn’t going to completely fix the shortage. We have to get more people into health care, more nurses. Part of that is creating an attractive work environment for them.”
Another issue is that nurses often have a huge workload, which can lead to employee burnout in some cases, but are not given a voice when it comes to decision making.
“Nurses have a tremendous amount of responsibility, but not a lot of authority to drive those changes of the tremendous amount of tasks that they have,” Rebecca Love, chief clinical officer at IntelyCare, said during the discussion.
Similar to Patterson, Love also has a background in nursing.
Patterson noted that there is value in engaging with experienced nurses who may have left the industry in order to leverage their expertise.
“We’ve got to figure out how to re-engage the experienced nurses or professionals that maybe aren’t in the industry anymore — that want to come back and help train people up, cross-train people,” he said. “Rethink the way we do care.”
Technology has often been touted as a solution to a number of issues that crop up across health care.
Still, many of the tech solutions meant to address things like workflows, the workforce and the work environment have never had nurses involved in the design and development.
“If you have a tech solution today that says, ‘You know what, the nurse is going to do it,’ congratulations, you have not done anything to help the nursing workforce,” Love said. “You’ve only added to that list.”
Love believes that health care organizations should have nurses on its C-suite teams. This will position nurses to find tech solutions that are actually relevant to the job.
“I think it is time that nurses say, ‘I’m not buying products or using products that don’t have nurses who are adequately involved in that,’” she said.
During the discussion, the topic of care delivery model bright spots also came up. Mike Golebiowski, corporate vice president of strategy and innovations at B Braun Medical Inc., named hospital-at-home as an example of a model that he’d like to see accelerate.
“You don’t want to be in the hospital, unless it’s critical,” he said. “Reimbursements have got to go with it, so that’s another part of the payment side of things, but once that catches up, I do believe that’s a great model.”