U.S. Nursing Shortage Affects Us All

You may have noticed that we’ve been advertising and posting lately for nurses: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN).

On June 12, we are also holding a Job Fair where nursing professionals are invited in to come in, tour our buildings, and meet members of the Witherell staff.

Even though the Witherell has one of the lowest employee turnover rates in Connecticut and the nation – ours is 7% versus a total nursing staff turnover rate of 51.6% nationally! – the fact is, we’re experiencing a nursing shortage here akin to the shortage that’s walloping our state’s and nation’s hospitals and other medical and healthcare facilities.

Demand exceeds supply.

This is not a sudden phenomenon. The situation has been evolving over the past several years as the pipeline of new doctors and nurses alike is insufficient to meet growing demand. And it’s occurring even though America’s 3 million nurses make up the largest segment of the health-care workforce in the U.S. and nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, according to various reports.

But we have an aging population that is growing exponentially, so the demand for healthcare services is far outpacing the supply of available healthcare workers. This problem was greatly exacerbated by the recent Covid pandemic, when burnout and stress took a major toll  on many in the healthcare community.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the staffing firm Incredible Health, more than 34% of nurses say it’s very likely that they will leave their roles by the end of 2022: 44% cited burnout and a high-stress environment as the reason and benefits and pay (27%) the second.

The bottom line is that everyone is scrambling.

“When we hear folks say, ‘We are short staffed’ on any given day or time, it’s not by design,” notes John Mastronardi, Executive Director of the Nathaniel Witherell. “Filling these much-needed open positions is the reason. Challenges such as staff calling-in sick, needing extended leave to care for a loved one, scheduling vacations – these all add to the pressure.”

But he is still hopeful. “We believe we’ll be able to attract new people as the Witherell has a leg up on other facilities due to our positive working environment and wonderful surroundings. Plus, all of us at the Witherell – administration and residents alike – make special efforts to let RNs, LPNs, and CNAs know how just much they are appreciated.”

     

He also points out that, even with the challenges, not all nursing professionals are abandoning ship. The survey showed that significant numbers of nurses plan on staying in the nursing field, but 40% plan to pursue a nursing role elsewhere, usually for higher pay (58% reported this was their motivating factor). Others are just seeking a different role (33%), an improved schedule (31%), their preferred location (25%), career advancement or training opportunities (24%).

We care deeply…and that sets us apart.

“At the Witherell, we prioritize workplace culture and retention,” says Mastronardi. “We care deeply about work/life balance, flexibility, diversity, and innovation, which really set us apart. We strongly urge people to consider working with us and will make ourselves available to meet, answer questions, and provide tours.”

If you or someone you know would like further information about working at the Nathaniel Witherell, please contact Nadia Benson at nadia.benson@witherell.org or call her at  (203) 618-4226.

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