Health care organizations hurting for more workers

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Busy Medical ReceptionistJust like waiting too long to go to the doctor, leaving health care roles open for extended periods of time can have a negative impact on overall well-being of an organization. From lower employee morale to patients getting less attention, the side effects of extended vacancies are hurting health care organizations.

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, more than 200 full-time, private sector hiring managers and HR professionals for health care employers shared the negative impacts extended vacancies are having on their organizations. Forty-eight percent of nursing jobs and 39 percent of allied health jobs go unfilled for six weeks or longer, on average. Nursing jobs go unfilled for 12 weeks or longer at 20 percent of health care organizations.

These extended vacancies may be frustrating to job seekers who are looking for a role within the industry. Learn more about why health care organizations are taking so long to fill these roles, as well as the negatives that come with these extended vacancies. Not only will you gain more insight to the industry, but you can learn how to make a strong case to employers why you should be hired, as well as learn where to strengthen your résumé.

Barriers to filling health care positions
If you applied to a health care role and didn’t get the job, you may have asked why you weren’t picked. In an effort to find out the answer — as well as understand what hiring managers look for in a health care employee — hiring managers were asked about their biggest barriers to filling a health care position in a separate 2013 CareerBuilder Healthcare survey* of 503 employers. Their responses included:

  • Applicants do not have any relevant experience – 47 percent
  • Applicants have salary requirements that are too high – 42 percent
  • Applicants have less than 3 years relevant experience – 40 percent
  • Applicants don’t have the proper education or training – 39 percent
  • Applicants have poor communication skills – 38 percent
  • Work schedule/hours are not desirable – 38 percent

Hiring managers who cited lack of experience as a leading barrier said they shy away from hiring these professionals because it negatively impacts patient care and is a major factor in risk management. Three in ten employers noted that they lack the training resources to get inexperienced workers up to speed.

Negative effects of extended vacancies
So what happens when an organization leaves a health care role open too long? A majority of employers cited at least one negative effect of vacancies (59 percent), with the top effects being:

  • Employee morale is lower because staff is overworked – 36 percent
  • Patients get less attention – 20 percent
  • Higher voluntary turnover – 11 percent
  • More mistakes in administration of patient care – 10 percent
  • Increased lawsuits – 4 percent

“The job market for health care positions continues to grow quickly in a sluggish economy, but filling key positions is far from easy. It takes proactive recruitment strategies focused on building pipelines and observing relevant workforce analytics,” said Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare. “Organizations are struggling to find a balance between bringing in new talent and hiring experienced industry veterans capable of stepping into stressful environments with little ramp-up time. It’s important, however, that health care leaders develop pathways for new graduates.”

Why is recruiting nurses a challenge?
Despite a surge in graduation rates from nursing schools nationwide, a majority (65 percent) of health care employers stated that recruiting nurses is difficult in some way. A lack of new graduates with nursing degrees was the least common answer:

  • I need to hire experienced nurses, not new graduates – 24 percent
  • I need nurses trained in a specialized area – 22 percent
  • My organization isn’t able to offer competitive pay – 19 percent
  • Lack of graduates with nursing degrees – 11 percent
  • Other – 14 percent
  • No difficulty recruiting nurses – 35 percent

While nearly a quarter of employers say they need experienced nurses, a large number of health care organizations are recognizing the need to provide additional training in order to find employees to join their team: 62 percent of employers say they plan to hire health care workers and provide additional training. Of those employers currently hiring nurses, 41 percent say they’re only looking for experienced nurses.

Employers need health care professionals who have the experience, passion and degree necessary to be a strong asset to their organization. While they are beginning to shift their expectations and take more responsibility for the training some employees may need, it is still largely up to the individual to make sure they are adequately prepared and ready for the role.

*The secondary study was conducted online within the U.S. by ORC International© on behalf of CareerBuilder. ORC surveyed 556 healthcare employers working in acute care hospitals, a home healthcare environment or in a skilled nursing facility between March 25 – April 10, 2013. With a pure probability sample of 1,059 ORC estimates a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a percentage sampling error of +/- 4.4 for employers and +/- 4.2 for employees.

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