Health Systems across the nation are experiencing staffing difficulties. Burnout from the recent pandemic combined with cost-cutting decisions and an aging workforce has created a perfect storm. With all levels of healthcare staff impacted there’s a redistribution of the workload that often requires staff to handle tasks far outside of their area of expertise. This can cause a variety of issues, from exacerbating staff burnout to resulting in poor patient care. An area of particular concern is how it affects the nursing staff.
There is no denying how critical nursing staff is. Studies have continuously illustrated that nurses have a direct impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction. When a health system lacks adequate nursing staff, or nurses are overburdened, everything is subsequently affected from patient mortality to reimbursement rates. This does not bode well for the current state of healthcare. The number of registered nurses dropped by more than 100,000 during the first year of the pandemic alone, and 2022 numbers aren’t expected to show improvement.
This makes retaining and attracting nursing staff mission-critical.
So how do you appeal to workers that are in such high demand? Competitive wages, of course, are always a part of the conversation but better working conditions may top pay in terms of demand. Many nurses left the profession during the peak of COVID-19 due to conditions, like extended hours and poor staff support, that they felt were unsafe. In a 2022 Convatec survey, 96% of nurses said they need more time to care for patients. This single statistic goes a long way toward identifying the root of the problem…
No one chooses the nursing profession because they want to juggle a variety of administrative or supply chain duties— they want to help people.
Improving working conditions and providing nurses with the support they need to do the job they are passionate about, and do it well, can be the key to improved retention and recruiting. Considering the overarching staffing challenges facing the industry adding more nurses isn’t always possible, instead, you might try a bottom-up approach. If a lack of ground-level support staff creates more burden for staff up the chain, then focusing on these key positions can help to relieve it. Luckily, there are many creative solutions for tackling support staff, especially those with administrative-heavy roles (Psst! We are one of them).
Envera provides dedicated teams of patient access coordinators to handle patient needs as they come in by phone. From scheduling and basic information requests to specialized outreach campaigns or prescription refills, we can unburden PSRs and provide resources that support communication efforts. With Envera as an access partner, you can execute proactive outreach strategies, minimizing the effort required to get patients on the phone while still allowing nurses to deliver personalized messages to patients about their care. This not only removes a sizable number of administrative duties from internal teams, but it also facilitates a better patient connection for your nursing staff assisting them in their goal of providing better care.
Patient access isn’t the only area you can look to fill through outside partnerships but it’s an easy place to start. Learn more about how we function as an extension of your organization to improve access and the patient experience.