The New Gap in Healthcare
Normally, healthcare worker, nurses, therapists, etc., complete classroom and also in-person practical clinical training as part of their education to practice their specific profession. During the initial onset of the COVID pandemic, we witnessed healthcare facilities reaching out and directly recruiting new nursing graduates, many even prior to graduation and without practical clinical experience, to start working immediately at the bedside.
As the pandemic has continued, clinical training opportunities prior to graduation have been limited, providing a decrease in clinical training for new nurses graduating. Since COVID, these professions have had to quickly adjust to continue classes online in smaller groups and move to more simulation, v-sim, and fewer in-person practical hours at the patient bedside. The immediate impact? Some universities are evaluating delaying graduation if clinicals cannot be completed by their students. While educators and students alike are adapting, what does this mean for the longer-term impact and the future employer of these nurses -- the healthcare facility? We may not see the full ramifications until May and June 2021 graduations. So how has nurse education and clinical preparation during this crucial time-shifted, and what is the potential impact on healthcare in the longer term?
Some questions to ponder:
- Will additional orientation and training be needed?
- Will a smaller number of new grads be accepted to facilitate more precepting?
- Will healthcare facilities opt to use other resources like agencies and recruiting companies to recruit higher-skilled nurses?
- Can the healthcare facility afford to not have new grads (i.e., retirement and turnover of staff)?
- And for the healthcare professional, how are they being prepared for success in their profession post-graduation?
We are already in a nursing shortage. We need new nurses to be successful and stay in nursing. Nursing is a profession critical to all of us and we should pay closer attention to the critical skills needed for the job. TalentLyft refers to a skills gap as “the difference between the skills required for a job and the skills employee actually possesses.” Forbes called the skills gap “a gap between what employers want or need their employees to be able to do, and what those employees can actually do when they walk into work.” How are higher education institutions and healthcare facilities preparing for this change in how clinical requirements are being managed? Collaboration must occur between the two industries.
Some solutions to consider for the success of our future first responders: assess individually each healthcare professional for what their specific training needs will be for the specific healthcare facility where they will begin their career. In addition, provide preceptors further training on coaching and leading these individuals. Provide evaluations and feedback in collaboration with the healthcare professional more frequently.
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Nurse Journal, Changes to Nursing Programs’ Clinical Requirements in Response to COVID 19 October 28, 2020