As our population continues to grow, more people are going to need medical treatment on some level. Hospital stays are also expected to increase, and there is currently a shortage of qualified nurses across the United States, which is creating a strain on staffing, budgets, and leading to burnout among RNs. While the nursing workforce is projected to grow in the next five years, we may still be facing another nursing shortage unless we rethink the RN staffing model.
Pressures Contributing to the Growing Nursing Shortage
There is no single factor signaling another nursing shortage. Rather, it is a confluence of pressures with and outside of the healthcare industry. First, we have to look at the aging population in the US. As people age, they require more medical care and hospital stays, which places a strain on the existing nursing staff at hospitals. Within the healthcare industry, nurses are also aging, which means the number of RNs who are exiting or preparing for retirement is exceeding the number of nurses entering the workforce. Second, the complexity and specialization of care is increasing as the healthcare industry makes advances in the treatment of patients. As more technical skills are required, hospitals are finding that existing RNs do not have the skills to adapt to new methodologies in care. Additionally, existing nurses do not have the time or resources for new training courses while balancing work and personal life. Third, hospitals simply do not have the resources – be it human or financial – to staff their facilities correctly or overhaul the existing processes in favor of something more effective and efficient.
Reversing the Nursing Shortage
By integrating new technologies and leveraging teleprofessionals in the hospital setting, the healthcare industry at large can reverse the growing nursing shortage. Virtual nurses, centralized patient monitoring, and more can cut hospital costs, optimize staffing needs, and increase the quality of care across the board. A virtual nurse with a small RN care team can cover dozens of patients at once without placing undue stress on staff, and providing better quality to patients. Additionally, hospitals will not have to worry about trying to hire RNs en masse to fill gaps in staffing, because integrated teleprofessionals work with existing staff as a team to improve coverage and care. With the new model, existing nurses will have more time and hospitals will have more resources to learn new skills to meet the oncoming challenges on the horizon.
BANYAN works with hospitals of all sizes to integrate teleprofessionals and centralized monitoring, as well as managing the transition to the new staffing model, in order to ensure a smooth transition that will save money, alleviate the burden on nurses, improve the quality of care patients receive, and reverse the nursing shortage in the United States.