If staffing is not the biggest problem facing eldercare today, it’s certainly in the team picture.
And two recent developments show that finding and keeping competent staff soon might become more challenging than ever.
The first stink bomb comes courtesy of an AMN Healthcare survey of nearly 20,000 registered nurses. More than a quarter of those polled (27%) indicated it’s unlikely they will remain at their current jobs for another year.
To be clear, many of the respondents work in sectors beyond skilled care and senior living. Still, this is not exactly a promising development.
Nor are operators likely to find much comfort in the two things likely to keep respondents from defecting: enhanced wages and benefits.
Given that our nation’s unemployment rate is already at the lowest level seen in decades, workers currently have serious leverage. Many organizations are discovering they must ante up or deal with defections.
And the timing here hardly could be worse, at least from an operator’s perspective. The Institute of Medicine predicts that more than 3.5 million additional healthcare workers will be needed over the next decade.
Then there’s this: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this week on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama-era initiative shields undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
Why does this matter? Because a ruling to nullify the program would make recruiting and retaining workers that much more challenging. Roughly 27,000 of these “dreamers” currently work in healthcare positions, according to a Census data analysis by the Center for American Progress.
I realize sentiment runs deep on both sides of the DACA issue, and I’m not advocating for one position or the other. I simply want to point out a potential math problem. Put simply: If DACA ends, then every person working in this field who is deported as a result presumably will need to be replaced.
In the best of times, adequately staffing communities is a major challenge. And it hardly looks like the best is yet to come.