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The Staffing Challenges Facing Long-Term Care In The US

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 5 years ago
  • Author:by Kate Andrews

By 2050, the number of US residents aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, which is almost double the 43.1 million in 2012, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same period, the number of working-age adults (18 to 64) will only increase by 14 percent.

Inevitably, growing numbers of older adults mean a greater requirement for long-term care (LTC) facilities and nurses to staff them. A 2015 study revealed that the need for paid care providers would continue to increase from 3.27 million in 2014 to 4.56 million in 2024. 

However, approximately 75 percent of nursing directors in LTC cite staffing shortages as their top challenge. Additionally, turnover in this field is widespread. In home care, hospice, and residential care environments, turnover ranges from 40% to well over 100%, with nurses stating that working in isolation and sometimes having to be task-oriented (rather than patient-focused) are reasons for exiting the profession. 

Is There A Lack of Available Nursing Talent in the US? 

Figures certainly suggest so. Despite the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) reporting a 3.7 percent increase in enrollment for entry-level nursing programs in 2018, the numbers still don’t meet the projected demand for nursing services.

Also, a 2018 survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, found that 50.9 percent of the RN workforce is aged 50 or older, meaning that more than 1 million RNs will reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years.

What’s The Solution? 

For a number of years, healthcare providers have used travel nurses to help bolster staff numbers in the face of increased demand. However, this approach places a considerable financial burden on already-stretched facilities. 

Another option has been to recruit nurses from overseas. There are now around 3 million immigrants already working in the US healthcare system, accounting for 1 in 4 workers in the field. 

Specialized staffing companies can open up a talent pool that would have otherwise been inaccessible to LTC facilities. Also, international nurses have a reputation for making an immediate positive impact on not only patient satisfaction levels but also an organization’s bottom line through mitigating turnover and the cost of contract labor. 

Furthermore, organizations typically don’t have the financial capacity to recruit an overseas nurse. Working with an international staffing agency, which handles visa sponsorship and owns the risk if the nurse doesn’t follow through with the process, is, therefore, a highly attractive option. 

Working with Conexus

As a leading international staffing agency, Conexus can connect you with a plethora of fresh talent, whether that’s a US-educated international nurse looking for their first role or an experienced nurse who’ll soon be ready to take over as a charge nurse or manager.

Our staffing model means nurses will be able to deploy between 1 and 5 months from the point you select them. This is in line with the 78-day hiring time for a US-based nurse, and a lot faster than most direct hire agencies that take up to two years for international nurses to be ready to work in the US. 

We work with a wide range of LTC organizations across the US to provide staffing solutions that suit their exact needs, whether that’s placing 2-5 nurses in a single location or staffing multiple facilities that span a state or the country. 

Find Out More 

Download our guide ‘Hiring the Right Nurses for your Long-Term Care Facility’ to get more information about recruiting international nurses and what Conexus can do for you.