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Top Concerns of Nurse Executives

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July 13, 2022

Many concerns are plaguing the healthcare systems and nurse executives across the country. Healthcare systems have found themselves in overwhelming situations regarding staff recruitment and retention. 

The nursing shortage and other factors are hurting patient satisfaction and the quality of patient care. If a nurse executive does not find the best fit solution for their healthcare staff, it can negatively impact the patient experience. While still reeling from the effects of the ongoing nursing shortage, nurse executives also have significant concerns that will most likely worsen within the years to come. Below we will examine some of the top problems confronting nurse leaders nationwide. 

Nursing Leadership Issues

There are multiple concerns nurse managers are facing, along with the increasing nursing shortage. As if nursing shortages and their impact on patient and staff satisfaction aren't enough, there are other issues that nurse managers have seen during the last two years in healthcare. Here are the significant issues affecting healthcare systems and frustrating nurse managers:

Professional disengagement among staff: This is usually the result of high-stress environments and limited ability to take a rest from their busy work schedule. Nurse burnout is causing resentment among overworked staff, leaving them to disengage and potentially leave their job positions.

Difficulty with recruitment and retention: With nursing graduate classes becoming smaller and smaller and hospitals having minimal training staff available for new hires, recruitment and retention of staff have become a significant issue. There is also increasingly high competition for nurses as hospitals across the country deal with the nursing shortage, not to mention competitive salaries.  

Rising labor costs for contract workers: With the use of travel nurses almost tripling in the last two years, many hospitals are struggling to keep up with the rising prices as some CNOs are paying $150 or more an hour for travel nurses. They are needed to fill the gaps in their staff but do not provide the long-term retention that hospital staff would prefer. 

Lack of nursing graduates: Becker's Hospital Review reported nursing schools rejected over 56,000 qualified applicants in 2017. On top of that, those admitted have either had online training or minimal in-person exposure to patient care. Due to the limited training staff, hospitals fear the number of inexperienced nurses will significantly affect patient care and safety.

High nurse leader turnover: COVID-19 impacted registered nurses, their nurse leaders, and managers. Many have worked to the brim and left the profession after many years due to the overwhelming commitment. When this occurs, it disrupts the flow of a healthcare system and leaves workers vulnerable to new initiatives and practices input by new leadership.

Challenges of a Nurse Leader

Nurse managers must focus on repairing the damage that COVID-19 has done to their staff. There is a desperate need to improve the pipeline of new healthcare workers. Hospitals can work with universities to train recent nursing graduates so they will transition into full-time nursing positions at a hospital following graduation. They can also work with international staffing agencies such as Avant Healthcare Professionals to recruit international nurses for a more long-term solution.

There is an extreme delay when it comes to hiring new nursing staff. Hospitals either have to wait to finalize staffing contracts or wait until a new group of nursing students graduates. It would be wise for nurse managers to care for and nurture the talent they already have at their facilities. Nurse managers should determine additional staff skills and learn how to utilize them in their facility. They should have nursing staff readily available to tackle immediate critical care tasks. 

Nurse managers need to look and adequately examine their workplace culture and determine what needs to change to improve nurse retention. Employees must be cared for, as many have left feeling burnt out due to the excessive workload placed on them at their hospitals. They require better benefits and overall wellness support, especially from their nurse leaders. They can receive support through mental health checks, breaks throughout the day, and more flexible scheduling.

Current Trends in Nursing

With these new issues and concerns, we will look at all the trends affecting hospitals in 2022. COVID-19 made it nearly impossible for hospitals to keep up with healthcare systems and meet the needs of their patients. As most hospitals have stabilized, they are now reviewing what current trends they are seeing and how they will address them in the future. Below are upcoming trends that hospitals will face throughout this year and next following the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Job Openings for Nurses will Continue to Rise
  • Healthcare Staff Mental Health Will be Affected
  • Virtual Technology will transform Nursing School
  • Short-Term Solutions to Nurse Shortage will Affect Patient Care
  • New Nurse Graduates Will Require Additional Training 
  • Online Nursing Graduate Programs Will Increase

The Bottom Line

There are some solutions to these problems that may be beyond the capabilities of specific healthcare systems. They will need assistance from outside agencies and organizations to help them with these issues, especially since hospitals have already spent billions of dollars to retain and recruit nurses to fill the nursing gap. Solutions such as international nurse staffing are an extremely viable option as they provide long-term retention and allow nurse executives to continue to build their team without fear of moving on to other careers. Nurse executives need to make the wellness of their staff their top priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are nursing leadership issues?

High nurse turnover and nurse retention are among the most significant concerns for nurse leaders. They are constantly looking for long-term solutions that will not only ease their staffing issues but will enrich their nursing staff. Nursing leadership faces issues with delivering quality care for their patients and healthcare staff. 

What makes an effective leader in nursing?

Strong communication skills and a drive to do what is best for your patients and staff make an effective nursing leader. They should have a clear vision and be open to listening to their team's struggles. They should be able to offer effective communication and solutions that will benefit their entire healthcare system and improve their nurse retention.

What is the greatest challenge that nurse leaders face in healthcare?

The ongoing nursing shortage is the most outstanding challenge nurse leaders face. Made even worse by COVID-19, there is more significant pressure now on nurse leaders to improve the quality of their nursing staff. Specifically, with a minimal supply of experienced nurses eager to work. They have been pushed mentally and physically to fill their staffing gaps and are concerned with how they will keep their facilities adequately staffed for the influx of patients.

About Avant Healthcare Professionals

Need nurses? Avant Healthcare Professionals is the premier staffing specialist for internationally educated registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Avant has placed thousands of international healthcare professionals across U.S. facilities to help improve the continuity of their care, fill hard-to-find specialties, and increase patient satisfaction, revenue and HCAHPS scores. Avant is a Joint Commission accredited staffing agency and founding member of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR). Avant Healthcare Professionals is a member of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.


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