The skills and training job seekers have often doesn't match the experience required for specialized jobs in the emerging economy. This difference between the skills that employers are looking for and the training and experience that candidates possess is called the “skills gap.”
How the Skills Gap Affects Healthcare Professional Retention
As a nurse, I am acutely aware of the shortage of nurses and the accompanying burnout that we hear about from those in our profession and from the healthcare facilities themselves. Additionally, we are aware of the growing acute and extensive nature of care that those seeking healthcare need. On top of this, coming out of the last few years with Covid, we have seen decreased numbers of students in nursing and medical laboratory technologist schools and decreased numbers of clinical educators both for schools and healthcare facilities.
Coupled with this, the healthcare industry has seen a drop in the level of experience in hospital nurses. The average tenure for nurses dropped to 2.8 years in March 2022, down from 3.6 years in January 2021. While there are many new graduating nurses, many lack basic knowledge of duties such as starting IVs, and hospitals are left to do a great deal of training for new nurses, with less staff resources to precept and clinical educators to train and mentor.
Additional statistics about the state of healthcare in the U.S.:
43% of new clinical nurses leave their first job within 3 years.
According to the 10-year national RN Work Project study, 17.5% of new nurses left their positions within 1 year, 33% within 2 years, and 60% within 8 years. This affects the organization financially as well. The average cost to replace one clinical nurse is $40,300 to $64,000.
The Solution to Retaining Nurses at the Bedside
For the most effective training and support to be provided, one must meet the person “where they are at” and build onto their existing educational foundation. Having Clinical Educators - such as the ones we have at Conexus - with experience in training, coaching, and mentoring is critical. This builds forward to the preceptor who benefits from training, specific to partnering with these healthcare professionals to support and carry on from the training that is provided by the educators.
Use of various techniques which may include lecture, demonstration, simulation, virtual simulation, and use of games is necessary to keep continuing education engaging and relevant. Asking for feedback along the way and creating an environment where the healthcare professional feels safe communicating open feedback about what they need and what they have accomplished will help build a successful educational experience.
How can we help to ensure that our healthcare professionals entering the field are confident and proficient? By helping healthcare professionals bridge the gap in their skillsets, we can encourage them not only to enter the field of healthcare, but stay in it – building a future in the field and providing excellent care to patients in their respective communities.
At Conexus MedStaff, we recognize this, which is why education is a primary pillar across our organization and for all our healthcare professionals and the facilities we serve. Providing personalized, individual educational assistance through resources, coaching, and mentoring is necessary. Education is not only provided at the time of orientation or when an assignment begins, but it is a professional career journey with many facets and phases.
This is how we can be a healthcare partner - filling in the gaps of skills, tenure, and career experience through education to meet both our healthcare professionals and our healthcare facility’s goals to ensure quality patient care and positive outcomes. This supports and helps keep healthcare professionals in healthcare.
Healthcare facilities looking to work with Conexus MedStaff can learn more about our services here. If you're an international healthcare professional looking to build a life you love in the U.S., we encourage you to apply today.