America’s healthcare industry has long relied on a corporate approach to hiring and retention. This approach has not changed much over the last 50 years, despite warning signs that something different was needed. Unfortunately, the industry is now paying the price. Corporate healthcare’s staffing chickens are coming home to roost in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

What is being called the Great Resignation has impacted healthcare as much as any other industry, perhaps even more. Frontline workers stressed to the breaking point by a system simultaneously trying to care for sick patients while preventing new cases are deciding it is time to move on. Where does that leave hospitals, medical groups, and recruiters?

The iMedical Data success cycle relies on four principles: plan, engage, measure, and optimize. Now, more than ever, the healthcare industry needs effective strategies for addressing staffing shortages. Without them, critical shortages are bound to continue. Those shortages could ultimately have a detrimental impact on patient health and well-being.

Taking Back Control

Recent research suggests that the number of permanent placement nurses transitioning to gig work has increased some 1400% in recent years. Nurses formerly working at hospitals and healthcare clinics have chosen to leave those jobs to take day-agency, travel nursing, and per diem positions. When asked to explain why, they consistently talk about control.

The corporate hiring model puts the employer in control. The employer decides on everything from scheduling to daily tasks. Healthcare workers have little choice in how or when they work. Moreover, they get very little support when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This is unacceptable to them.

It’s interesting to note that the corporate model isn’t exclusive to healthcare. It is the way nearly every industry in America does business. Likewise, the Great Resignation isn’t a healthcare phenomenon. It’s a national phenomenon affecting everything from IT to hospitality.

Employees Can Only Give So Much

The Great Resignation and its companion mass exodus to gig work are both evidence that employees can only give so much. They start out giving a reasonable amount when a job is new. But as time goes by, they are expected to continually give more. At some point, they have nothing left to give.

On the other hand, gig work offers the promise of taking back control. A nurse electing to leave a permanent placement job in favor of travel nursing has total control over the assignments she accepts. She chooses when and where to work. From the employer’s perspective, not being able to fill an assignment is evidence that something needs to change.

How Employers Can Move Forward

It is clear that healthcare workers are no longer happy with the status quo. What does that mean for employers moving forward? It means taking a good, hard look at the data and responding accordingly. That is where we come in. As a company specializing in healthcare data sets consisting of first-party data, we can help employers find the answers they are looking for.

Now is the time to implement the iMedical Data four-point success cycle. Now is the time to target potential candidates based on a clear understanding of what they want from their careers. It is time to strategically plan recruiting based on data potential candidates voluntarily provide, then choose and engage with the right candidates.

Healthcare workers want control over their own careers. They want control over their own lives. Hoping this is a trend that will ultimately go away is no strategy for success. Healthcare’s staffing chickens are coming home to roost. Acknowledging that is the first step to finding solutions.

by Chris Lee (President iMedicaldata, LLC)