Young travel nurse wearing light blue medical scrubs sitting on the floor in a healthcare facility reading a newspaper about nursing care shortages.

Addressing the Nursing Care Shortage - Molina Healthcare Live Virtual Panel

March 13, 2023

On February 22, 2023, Advantis Medical CEO Dan Pollock joined Molina Healthcare and other healthcare staffing experts to discuss the effects the nursing shortage is having on the industry. Alongside Rachel Hammon, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Home Care & Hospice; Antonio Johnson, VP of People Engagement with Cantex Continuing Care Network; and Nate Moore, Chief Operating Officer for TCARE, Pollock shared his view of the state of nursing and the future for nurses.

The Nursing Shortage Continues

The panel drew an audience of healthcare stakeholders from around Texas, many of them with the same question: how can we fix the nursing shortage? According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 23,000 registered nursing positions remain unfilled, causing gaps in patient care, overwork for remaining nursing staff, and constant turnover as facilities struggle to find the staff they need.

Nursing care shortage infographic statistic with text: there are currently 23,000 unfilled registered nursing positions.

Pollock noted that the nurse shortage in Texas and beyond has dramatically affected entire communities. “You’re seeing hospitals close floors and units in their facilities so now the community is suffering,” he noted. “You know, if they don’t have a certain surgery center that is no longer open or a certain floor is no longer open and patients have to travel even further to get this care.”

The ripple effects are noteworthy, Pollock shared. “Over 50% of healthcare facilities are running negative margins. They are losing money,” he said. “That cannot sustain itself. These facilities will go out of business.”

“The smaller the city, the more rural the town. Those are the times when you have to pay a premium to the cost of living that you would see in a large city, and you see that as a cycle that makes it hard for these hospitals to turn a profit,” said Pollock.

Compensation for Qualified Nurses

Facilities that operate on low profit margins struggle to hire staff because they cannot always offer the pay that qualified nurses expect. “We saw nurses leave staff positions to take travel assignments for the first time ever and a major motivation was money,” said Pollock. Pollock suggests that increasing staff nurse and travel nurse pay rates is one way that facilities can attract clinicians and improve operations.

Infographic with pay rates and nursing salaries for travel nurses vs. staff nurses in Texas with average weekly pay.

He explained that Advantis Medical’s priority in placing nurses is achieving satisfaction for everyone involved. This includes patients, travel nurses, local travel nurses, allied health, healthcare facilities, and more. Patient care is always the top priority but ensuring that nurses are compensated appropriately for the care they provide is a critical factor in how Advantis Medical selects healthcare systems to place nurses.

Healthcare Post-COVID

Pollock and the rest of the panel addressed the changes across healthcare since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He acknowledged the surge conditions that stretched the national healthcare infrastructure to its limits.

“Through that, burnout increased. Nurse-to-patient ratios got stretched and we saw clinicians completely leave the bedside, which further made this problem even more acute,” said Pollock.

He explained how the landscape has shifted as the crisis has abated. “What’s happening now, as census has somewhat normalized and dropped, we’ve seen demand for travel nursing also drop. And pay packages have declined. We’re seeing nurses go back and accept staff jobs and re-approach the original facility they left. But I think that doesn’t mean that the staffing demand at these facilities has been met.”

Pollock says that healthcare facilities still need travel nurses, and Advantis Medical works to make good matches between clinical staff and facilities. “Nurses want to be great at their jobs,” Pollock says.

He encourages facilities to have a solid onboard process for travel nurses, so they feel welcomed and supported, personally and professionally. He also advocates for dedicated staff who can work with travel nurses to get up to speed on procedures, find professional training they might need, and generally oversee morale among nursing staff.

Careers In Travel Nursing

If you are a nurse looking for a career as a travel nurse, Pollock advises finding an agency that will support you as a travel nurse. Advantis Medical prides itself on a personal approach. We constantly monitor the healthcare industry as a whole and know where the best opportunities are for nurses in any specialty. Our staff will get to know you and your goals in order to make the best placements for you. We’re here for you as you’re looking for the right placement throughout your whole assignment.

To learn more about a career as a travel nurse with Advantis Medical, create an account on our AdvantisConnect job portal to get connected with your personal recruiter. They will be happy to help you with the next exciting step in your career. For a more independent approach, start exploring travel nurse jobs today.

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