How to Recruit, Onboard Healthcare Workers Quickly Despite Worker Shortages

In a pre-COVID world, most health system leaders cited the growing demand for healthcare workers as one of the biggest issues facing the industry.

The Healthcare Challenge: Demand is Outpacing Supply

Healthcare occupations are projected to add about 2.6 million new jobs by 2030 – one of fastest growing sectors in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a 2018 report on the future of the US Healthcare Labor Market from Mercer finds that demand for healthcare workers is on track to outpace supply.  

Here’s why:

  • There simply aren’t enough qualified candidates. School enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the projected demand for various healthcare services. As a result, there are a limited number of graduates available to fill open healthcare positions.
  • As the demographics within the U.S. evolve, so do patient care needs. By 2030, the number of US residents age 65 and over (Baby Boomers) is expected to reach approximately 82 million. A larger population of older adults means higher rates of chronic disease and comorbidity – and a greater need for specialized care. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing workforce projection reports indicate that qualification gaps – between what’s available and what’s needed – will continue to widen.
  • Aging physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are nearing retirement. The National Center for Biotechnology Information says many of these positions are being filled by a generation that generally prefers to work part-time or in specialties versus having on-call responsibilities.
  • The Mercer report also points to policy changes under the Affordable Care Act that have made healthcare coverage available to more Americans. As a result, there is higher demand for healthcare services, including screenings, laboratory tests, and other diagnostics.

The Impact of the COVID pandemic: Burnout and Absenteeism

Burnout and absenteeism are also causing higher turnover rates. This was already a problem before the COVID pandemic and has only gotten worse. All across the country, health systems are facing an exodus of exhausted and demoralized doctors, nurses and other front-line workers, according to findings from U.S. News & World Report on the status of today’s health systems

Before the pandemic, physicians were at twice the risk for burnout compared to the general population, with 40% of those surveyed reporting depression and suicidal ideation. Since the start of the pandemic, 60-75% of clinicians now report symptoms of exhaustion, depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.  The National Academy of Medicine also found: 

  • About 20 percent of healthcare workers have quit since pandemic started
  • 4 out of 5 of those who remain say staffing shortages have affected their ability to work safely and to satisfy patient needs

What does all of this mean for hiring managers? There is a much smaller pool of skilled healthcare workers to hire from than previously. And in a market where employers are competing for top talent, it’s more important than ever to offer a quick time to hire and positive candidate experience. 

For health system leaders trying to hire qualified candidates in this environment, locating these candidates is only the first hurdle in the lengthy recruitment process. Even after finding “the one”, there are still significant licensure, regulatory, and compliance requirements that the prospective employee must complete, which may extend the time to hire. To recruit healthcare workers quickly, employers need to be deliberate about streamlining the onboarding process so they don’t lose out on the best candidates. 

 

Screening Effectively and Quickly to Keep Candidates Engaged

Background checks and screenings in the healthcare industry can be cumbersome – and for good reason. Subject to federal and state-mandated changes, healthcare professionals who work within the healthcare industry need to have exceptional training and satisfy licensure requirements  that make them qualified to work in a designated position. In other words, employers aren’t collecting data just for the sake of acquiring it. They need to be confident that candidates are properly licensed and capable of providing high quality care to patients, and that they won’t cause harm to other employees.

Healthcare background check requirements vary depending on the position being filled, which organization is hiring, and how thorough they want to be. But generally speaking, they include:

  • Verifications and Credential Screenings
  • Criminal History Search
  • Social Security Tracing
  • Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) Checks
  • Controlled Substance Screenings
  • National Sex Offender Search

In some cases it might also be pertinent to verify an employee’s proof of vaccinations that are necessary for a job. Running all of these checks and screenings can be timely, especially if employers don’t have a system in place to streamline the process from start to finish. 

 

How Vault Health Makes Healthcare Recruitment and Onboarding Easy

Vault Health Workforce Screening is a nationwide specialist in background checks and screenings with accreditation from the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). This means it has met rigorous ethics and performance standards to become an effective, compliant screening partner for employers. 

Vault has over 30 years of experience in providing:

  • Extensive background checks
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Occupational health screening

Outside of background screening, we also offer the ability to ship out chain of custody forms and respirator masks for fit tests, with next-day delivery. Our robust nationwide coverage of clinics can perform whatever occupational health services important to you, with the documentation you need to confirm services are complete. 

We pride ourselves on helping employers make faster, more accurate, and safer hiring decisions while improving candidates’ onboarding experience. Contact us to learn more.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be relied upon for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately.