Placing Hires with Care in the Nursing Sector

nursing recruitment

Nursing recruitment has been a challenge for some time and, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, political and economic uncertainties were increasing the complexity.

The global pandemic heightened the challenge tenfold overnight, adding pressure to the organisations most in need of the best talent and, as a result, the staffing agencies working with them.

It’ll be fascinating to see how nursing recruitment changes as we head back into a more familiar environment and whether the core recruitment challenges are still present.

From what we could see, the three main challenges that the industry was facing in early 2020 were:

Talent shortages

This is the case in almost every country, but the NHS in the UK had been struggling with it for some time. Until recently, the solution seemed to be the increasing trend for global mobility, bringing in nurses from across the EU, in particular, to work in Britain.

However, the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 and the unanswered questions that still exist around Brexit not only threatens to make it more difficult for migrant workers to join and remain in the country, but also push existing staff out of the profession.

A transient workforce

This is an issue that we were increasingly hearing clients across all industries talking about and the nursing sector was no exception. Research in the US demonstrated the extent of this issue. The report, by recruitment firm Leaders For Today, found that more than 50% of all candidates surveyed had worked for at least five hospitals and only 4% had stayed with a single hospital for their entire career.

As a recruiter, the challenge is to not just find a candidate who will fit the role and perform well, but also to find one who either stays in that role or, at least, comes back to you for support when they are ready to move on.

What impact COVID-19 will have on this trend is yet to be seen as, in the short-term at least, employees may want to remain in a role for both security and the benefit of the community needing more medical staff than ever. However, it’ll be interesting to see if the nursing population is on the lookout for other professions when we come out on the other side.

Patient & staff expectations

In 2019, Deloitte released a Global Healthcare Outlook report that, at the time, identified two of the top five challenges for the healthcare industry of tomorrow as being:

  •     entry of millennials into the workforce, with different expectations
  •     increasing patient complexity

Expectations and the complexity of care were already rating high on the agenda of challenges for the healthcare industry and, according to Deloitte’s latest report, Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis for the Health Care Ecosystem, COVID-19 is only likely to exacerbate that issue, stating:

“Grief, uncertainty, and fear will likely drive many consumers to behave very differently in the recovery phase, enhancing a need to focus on meeting consumers where they are and delivering care on their terms. It’s not just about continuing and improving upon virtual care models in the future environment, it’s about re-establishing consumer trust in the system to effectively address the emotions and vulnerabilities that people are feeling as reopening begins to occur.” 

A knock-on effect

With increased pressure often comes a drive to get things done fast, which leads to shortcuts being taken to ensure a role is filled quickly.

Unfortunately, as a result, we see a regular flow of media articles calling out bad hiring decisions. And we all know that, when you’re placing into these positions of trust, news of a bad hire leading to misconduct in the clients’ workplace is not only bad for your agency’s reputation but could potentially have dangerous consequences for the people in the care of the organisation you’re hiring for.

Avoiding bad placements

In order to feel confident about the steps taken to make a placement decision, it’s important to take a long hard look at how you’re doing things and question whether your processes demonstrate the following:

  1. Protection – When it comes to hiring these positions of trust, the steps you take are as much about finding the right person for the role in terms of skills and experience as they are about protecting everyone that the final hiring decision will impact. You have to be sure that the processes you have in place are protecting the reputation of both you and your clients, as well as the welfare of those in your clients’ care.
  2. Compliance – Employers are increasingly attributing the liability of a hire to the recruitment agency they work with. If for any reason, your placement turns out to be wrong for the role or a threat to the organisation or people in its care, you could be faced with liability claims. Ensuring you have processes in place that are robust and meet all the compliance and governance requirements of the industry is critical.
  3. Trust – Patients trust the care nurses offer and expect the organisation employing those nurses to trust them in that role. But the concept of trust has to start before a new recruit enters the workplace. So, the question you have to ask yourself is, can I trust the processes we have in place to find and place those hire individuals?

With so much on the line, recruitment in this sector has to be second to none.

Platforms, such as Xref, offer recruiters the assurance that the hires they are making have been verified and can be trusted to offer the service and expertise expected.

With this technology available, there really is no excuse for a lack of due diligence in healthcare recruitment and we have to act now to make poor hiring, and the awful headlines that come with it, a thing of the past.

To learn more about Xref, click here.

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