Can Technology Solve the Nursing Talent Crisis?
Leveraging the benefits of technology can lessen the impact of the nursing talent shortage.
The healthcare system is in dire need of an infusion of nurses and fast, as increased demands on the acute care sector has reduced capacity and focus for primary care networks. Meanwhile, a real-term nursing pay freeze is resulting in more and more nurses turning to locum and agency opportunities, plus a low supply of graduating nurses, high-turnover, increasing retirement of baby boomers, burnout, and Brexit is making it challenging to hire internationally, and pushing the healthcare sector to nearing breaking point. Healthcare providers can’t hire fast enough to meet demand, as the danger that the NHS could be overwhelmed is never far out of sight.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as at the same time the healthcare sector is looking to embrace change and innovation to confront the talent shortage head-on. Focusing on preventative service to promote health rather than illness, the healthcare system is shifting to a greater reliance on technological solutions to alleviate existing issues and allow a greater number of nurses to enter the field each year. Moving away from the acute sector and into the communities via telemedicine and virtual care, the sector is looking at methods to improve the nursing experience, reduce staff turnover, and improve retention. According to The Health Foundation, there was a 23% increase in the number of students accepted onto nursing degree courses in England in 2020, as the industry looks for ways to lessen the impact of the nursing shortage.
How Technology Can Help Solve the Nursing Shortage Crisis
With the pace of digital advancement increasing in response to the pandemic, there are many opportunities for the healthcare sector to adopt technological solutions to help nurses at the point of care. Four key areas that would benefit from the increased use of technology are care delivery, unit design, education, and staffing. Integrated systems, workflow management tools, and innovative medical tech will help to alleviate the pressure of increased demand, reduce staff burnout, and ultimately help to boost standards of care, allowing the nursing community to reinvent itself and regain credibility.
Technology will enable nurses to tend to patients in a more meaningful way, by allowing them to spend their time on high-value tasks, with solutions including:
- Mobile apps
Mobile staffing apps can make nurses feel more connected to their profession, as through data-learning, mobile technology can analyse individual’s behaviour and tailor push notifications to alert them when their preferred shift times are available, for example. Texting and mobile apps can also be used as a vehicle for patient engagement and help make care more efficient.
Blockchain will enable nurses to store all of their important documents in one place, allowing them to easily share with potential employers. Documents such as training history, licensures and references will be made easily accessible, so that nurses can quickly apply to jobs they feel align with their long-term career goals.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The use of AI has the potential to transform how healthcare is delivered and improve the nursing experience, by enabling them to spend more time in direct patient care and reducing burnout. AI can help to increase productivity by automating workflows, managing huge volumes of patient data and support the shift from hospital-based to home-based care, such as remote monitoring, AI-powered alerting systems, or virtual assistants.
Video consultations are on the rise and can help towards improving care for patients in rural areas and disadvantages populations. Remote appointments add convenience for patients and eases the impact of the nursing shortage due to easier access to nurses, allowing them to better focus on patient care and satisfaction.
- Webcams and drug delivery devices
Health monitoring in the form of webcams also aid the shift in focus to home-based care, along with drug delivery devices such as bioresorbable stents which allow daily release of drug doses for weeks at a time and then dissolve without harming the body. This in turn, also helps to reduce medication errors.
How Digitalising the Recruitment Process Can Help Attract and Retain Healthcare Talent
One of the biggest challenges in healthcare for executives is how to use resources efficiently. Technology plays an important role in managing heavy workloads, reducing time-to-hire, and cost-effective staffing. Not only can technology streamline the recruitment process, it can manage huge amounts of data, measure patient dependence and patient classification schemes, manage staffing schedules and nursing workload.
Similar to how mobile apps, scheduling technology, and blockchain credentialing can improve the nursing experience and in turn, patient care, they can also be leveraged throughout the recruitment process to increase talent pools, attract high-calibre talent and improve the candidate experience.
- Mobile apps
Mobile nurse staffing apps have the potential to upend the traditional nurse staffing industry, making access to available shifts and application to roles easy with just a few clicks. Nurses can also share job postings with colleagues and boost engagement amongst nurses across the sector to improve satisfaction and retention.
Referrals are a great way to source like-minded talent quickly, enabling you to expand your talent pool and promote strong social and employee engagement. Implementing a referral program will also mean that from little or no input from your team, it keeps running behind the scenes and sourcing high-quality nursing professionals.
- AI and automation
AI and automation can help improve the recruitment experience, boost employer brand and ultimately, speed up and manage the entire hiring process. By automating administrative tasks and scheduling communications via email or text, candidates remain engaged and nurtured throughout the entire recruitment cycle.
Chatbots also aid the improvement of candidate experience, as nurses looking for shifts can access information quickly and efficiently on their mobile devices that they carry with them all the time. Much like the consumer-led market, professionals have increased expectations that the recruitment process will reflect other, similar experiences that they can access through their smartphone.
How WorkLLama Can Help Make Your Recruitment Process More Effective
WorkLLama is a cost-effective candidate acquisition channel that allows you to engage candidates in your database, garner high-value candidate referrals, reduce reliance on job boards and improve end-client employer brand.
Reducing reliance on expensive sourcing tools while increasing productivity and reducing headcount costs, WorkLLama will increase the number of candidates in your talent community by 300% via referrals. Our automated communication tools create several touchpoints for candidates and employers alike throughout the hiring process, so that they are kept engaged, updated and more likely to refer again.
Referred nursing professionals are the lifeblood of healthcare recruitment. Find out how WorkLLama can help you leverage AI and automation to deliver the right talent resources to power your talent strategy.