Severe staffing shortages rises to top challenge in 2007
Nursefinders, Inc. today announced the first-quarter findings of its Quarterly Nurse Staffing Survey. The survey uncovers the top ten challenges facing healthcare executives in 2007, with severe staffing shortages topping the list at number one and replacing inadequate reimbursement as 2006’s top challenge. Additionally, the near majority (45 percent) of healthcare executives believe overcoming severe staffing shortages would have the greatest positive impact on patient care, and nearly one-third (29%) believe it would have the greatest positive impact on revenues. These are just a few of the major findings resulting from the survey.
The following issues were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being least challenging, 5 being most challenging) by a panel of healthcare executives and are based on highest average rating on the scale.
on 1 to 5 scale
|1.||Severe staffing shortages||3.93|
|4.||Managing premium internal labor costs||3.71|
|7.||Quality compliance/patient safety||3.53|
|8.||Rising insurance costs||3.51|
|9.||Governmental regulations and mandates||3.38|
Several changes occurred in how healthcare executives rank top challenges in 2007 as compared to 2006. Issues that rose higher on the list in 2007 include managing premium internal labor costs from eighth in 2006 to fourth on the list this year, and revenue enhancement from ninth last year to number six in 2007.
Healthcare executives also indicated less concern with rising insurance costs which dropped from third in 2006 to the eighth spot this year, and capacity which also dropped from sixth to last on this year's; list of top ten challenges.
"While there is strong concern across the board, we believe the changes in top challenges for healthcare executives may be correlated to two significant trends impacting organizations today," states Bob Livonius, chief executive officer of Nursefinders. "The first is related to unprecedented expansion efforts recently undertaken by healthcare organizations. Over the past four years, $130 billion has been spent on health care construction and last year, construction dollars hit an all-time high of $40.2 billion, a 42 percent jump since 2002. The completion of many of these projects has essentially decreased the concern over capacity and replaced it with the challenge of staffing these new facilities.
"The second is an increased demand for specialized healthcare skills. With length of patient stays shrinking, we’re seeing a greater focus on ICU and outpatient procedures, both of which require specialized nursing and allied health skills. The result is increased pressure to find specialized healthcare skills amidst an already shrinking resource pool," said Livonius.
When asked to name their most important business initiative in 2007, for nearly one-third (30%) of healthcare executives that initiative was related to the recruitment and/or retention of staff. Other initiatives included:
|Staffing Issues (includes retention/reducing turnover/recruitment)||30%|
|Patient Satisfaction and/or Safety||18%|
|More Managed Care contracts||4%|
”Despite a recent research report in Health Affairs indicating that a spike in people entering the nursing profession in their late 20s or early 30s may narrow the nurse shortage by as many as 420,000 by 2020, healthcare executives are still faced with a critical shortage that is clearly their most important business priority,” says Livonius. ”This is particularly evident when you consider that most other business initiatives shared by respondents are also somehow linked to or impacted by staffing levels.”
According to the Nursefinders study, 44 percent of healthcare executives said overcoming severe staffing shortages would have the greatest positive impact on patient care, and 41% said overcoming inadequate reimbursement would have the greatest positive impact on revenue for their organization. The detailed findings include:
|Greatest Positive Impact on Patient Care|
|1.||Severe staffing shortages||44%|
|Greatest Positive Impact on Revenue|
|3.||Managing internal labor costs||10%|
|5.||Severe staffing shortages||9%|
”While we were not surprised that healthcare executives believe overcoming severe staffing shortages would most greatly impact patient care, it is interesting to note that staffing-related issues such as managing internal labor costs and productivity management would also significantly impact revenues for many healthcare organizations,” said Livonius.
The Nursefinders, Inc. Quarterly Nurse Staffing Survey is conducted with a panel of nearly 100 healthcare executives, each representing unique healthcare facilities which vary in revenue size and number of beds, including hospitals, long-term acute care and others, from across the country.
Based in Arlington, TX, Nursefinders is a leading provider of healthcare staffing and home health services and the largest provider of Vendor Managed Services (VMS) in the United States. Nursefinders offers comprehensive healthcare staffing solutions to include allied health professionals and physician recruitment and locum tenens (contract physicians), in addition to nursing, through its sister companies Club Staffing, Linde Healthcare and Kendall & Davis. Founded in 1974, the company has a system-wide network of more than 100 offices and serves approximately 4,700 hospitals, nursing homes and clinics across the country. Nursefinders' Patient Care Division provides home health services for all age groups from newborn care to senior living services from 25 locations nationwide. For more information on the company, visit www.nursefinders.com
Senior Director of Corporate Communications, AMN Healthcare
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Media outlets nationwide look to Nursefinders for commentary on health care trends.