Ever ask your team an obvious question and get vacant stares as a response? Like they either never thought you would ask, or even scarier, never truly asked themselves? As large states like Texas, Florida and California are predicting huge shortages in nurses in the years to come, the debate continues why this is happening. Some point to a temporary drop in program enrolments during the pandemic. Others say the pandemic itself is permanently frightening off would be medical professionals. What is agreed is the lack of nurses the country is facing over the next decade is real and will have a dramatic negative impact on patient care.

So, knowing all this is coming, here is the obvious question to ask your team, “what is our organization doing differently to develop, hire and retain nurses?” Unfortunately, many are doing the same thing they have always done, but somehow expecting different results. Others however are getting proactive quickly. They are going on offense by offering scholarships for high school seniors who enroll in nursing programs, summer internships for nursing students, aggressive recruiting tactics, signing bonuses and unique long-term employment benefits. These organizations are also playing better defense by enhancing employee engagement programs and developing better strategies to keep the nurses they currently have on their team. So again, ask your team, ‘what are we doing differently?’ The term shortage is relative. If it is true, Texas would have been short 16,000 nurses in the year 2020, the question is which organizations are going to put the work in to be 100% staffed and which will be caught trying desperately to fill vacancies in their hospital, office or surgical center. The patient will never be happier than the people taking care of them, which begs obvious question number two, “what if we have no one there to care for patients?” It is always first who, then what. Start thinking about the future employees you will need.