Emerging Nurse Leader

As I do virtual interactive workshops with health systems across the country, trends emerge over time. For example, when I launched the Become the Boss No One Wants to Leave workshop (see flyer below) in July of 2022, not every health system was in the same place in terms of staff recruitment and retention. Today all the trends mentioned below are now nationwide challenges. No employers are spared from growing shortages and the changing needs of the nursing workforce that continue to emerge. So here are 25 things I am seeing right now that are part of the nurse leader’s circle of concern:

  1. COVID variant numbers continue to increase. Healthcare staff themselves have been sick over the past four months despite vaccinations and boosters, leading many to worry about the impact of the stress on their immune systems.
  2. Calls for significant reform in healthcare to support the workforce are starting to emerge with the Surgeon General health-worker-wellbeing-advisory (002) published on May 23rd. It is a well-written 72-page document that does a comprehensive job of laying out all the challenges and possible solutions.
  3. The American public is starting to notice that access to all care (clinics, urgent care, hospitals, surgery, procedures) is delayed despite the ability to pay. Comedian Samantha Bee devoted a widely watched 10-minute episode on her show full-frontal to a comedic routine around challenges with the nursing shortage.
  4. Patient volumes are surging, and financial challenges were widespread in healthcare in the first quarter of 2022.
  5. Nurse executives struggle to help their C-Suite colleagues understand how severe and intractable the workforce shortages are. A dollar or two an hour raise does not solve staffing problems.
  6. Nurse leaders are burned out and exhausted from dealing with staffing and scheduling challenges.
  7. Young nurses are making TikTok videos accessible to the public about problems with nurse staffing in their facilities.
  8. Staff turnover has not slowed down in the first five months of 2022, and the research continues to indicate that 30% of nurses intend to leave their positions this year.
  9. Childcare access and costs are growing concerns as the nursing workforce (especially in acute care) are in its peak childbearing years. Nurses are cutting their hours and leaving positions to care for their families. Only 2% of nurses in a recent nurse.com salary survey report childcare as a work benefit.
  10. Travel pay and benefits have declined, but the use of travelers continues in almost all settings. Some hospitals report an inability to find travelers with housing cited as a significant issue.
  11. Large health systems with a multistate presence are forming their own travel programs while others are providing unpaid leave for their nurses who are out on 13-week contracts.
  12. Union activity is on the increase.
  13. Young Generation Z nurses are focused on hourly pay as a singular metric to consider in job selection, telling leaders that a 401ks means little if you can’t fill the car with gas and rent an apartment.
  14. Nurses with well-being issues report a lack of access to mental health services as many behavioral health providers no longer take insurance.
  15. Big-name brand health systems are now struggling to find staff for the first time.
  16. Nurses now leave positions quickly if things are not working out for them.
  17. The lack of adequate staffing leads many nurses to conclude that the current delivery models are unsustainable and will cause massive burnout and exhaustion.
  18. Leaders report that employee ghosting for interviews and on the first day of employment is now commonplace.
  19. Health systems plan to offer new services despite their current staffing challenges.
  20. This year’s new graduate nurses are in high demand. Health systems are reporting that they are only achieving about 50% of their target recruitment numbers for the class of 2022.
  21. Health systems are struggling with onboarding new graduates who lack skills and are expected to care for very acutely ill patients.
  22. Nurses know they are in the driver’s seat when negotiating for work and now routinely request no weekends, on-call, or off tours.
  23. Clinical and support staff are in short supply in almost all settings nationwide, making care delivery redesign a challenge.
  24. More healthcare organizations now focus on team building and staff connections.
  25. The cost of living in a geographic area, especially housing and parking fees, are starting to impact recruitment.

Source: https://www.emergingrnleader.com/whats-trending-now/