As the calendar changes to 2022, hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country are reevaluating their staffing initiatives to better align with their short and long-term goals as they head into the new year. And with the pandemic still a very real and prevalent piece of the conversation, it’s imperative for organizations to stay agile on the staffing front. 

As a healthcare leader, there are three factors to take into consideration when developing your healthcare staffing plans for 2022. Here’s what you need to know. 

Expect the Unexpected

Ugh! I know- you don’t want to hear it but… COVID-19’s far-reaching impact has uprooted the notion of normalcy, requiring healthcare organizations to proactively plan for unpredictable and volatile conditions. Prior to the pandemic, facilities could leverage reporting data to forecast staffing needs for the upcoming year. However, navigating the uncertainty of our current climate requires a new approach – one that calls for speed and adaptability

Handling surge capacity while delivering optimal patient care requires healthcare organizations to be nimble. Establishing crisis management protocols that utilize a multi-pronged strategy through succession planning, wellness initiatives and the use of healthcare recruitment specialists is pivotal for addressing coverage gaps, decreasing turnover and driving patient outcomes and profitability.

Prioritizing mental health and work-life balance is more crucial than ever. Even before the pandemic, 83% of clinical leaders, clinicians and healthcare executives named burnout as the primary challenge their organization faced. The widespread issue has only intensified over the last year, causing many physicians and healthcare workers to pursue opportunities with employers that’ll meet their needs more effectively. New policies, not empty promises, are vital for both attracting talent and retaining current staff. 

New Healthcare Models Will Fuel Competition

The changes – and challenges – spurred on by the pandemic have caused some healthcare workers to seek out employers that have adopted new healthcare models, such as value-based care. For productivity-based hospitals and facilities, this market shift may pose a challenge – especially when trying to recruit physicians who are looking to focus more time and energy on patient care. It’s an effective model for driving trust and strengthening the physician-patient relationship while mitigating burnout via manageable workloads. 

Healthcare organizations that are productivity-based will need to exercise creativity when communicating their value proposition to potential candidates. Whether that be highlighting the internal culture, clinical environment or organizational mission, it’s imperative to focus on key factors that differentiate your opportunity from competitors. 

Prioritize Flexibility in Recruiting

Implementing flexible staffing solutions will be essential in 2022 – especially since it’s unclear how severely the pandemic will impact patient census over the winter months. With the Omicron variant becoming a greater threat by the day, many experts are expressing concerns about the surge in cases and the virus’s high level of contagiousness. 

The silver lining? We’ve been in the trenches before and the healthcare space is equipped to overcome challenges that may arise by adopting a flexible recruiting model. To cover anticipated patient surges, it’s imperative to have a pipeline of credentialed and specialized physicians, as well as nurses and other healthcare workers, to bridge gaps, pick up shifts and ensure optimal care is delivered. 

In a similar vein, if pandemic conditions improve over the next year, hospitals and facilities will still need to reintegrate and expand non-emergent procedures and elective surgeries without fueling burnout among staff members. Having an on-demand staffing strategy will allow you to fill holes with highly specialized personnel without changing the fundamental nature of your working environment and staff. 

Maximize Efficacy with Recruitment Specialists

Healthcare organizations that utilize an efficient, lean staffing plan for their 2022 recruitment initiatives will avoid financial and operational burdens, and set themselves up for long-term sustainability. While COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in traditional recruitment planning, it has also given facilities the opportunity to implement changes that are advantageous for all parties – your nurses and physicians, your patients and your organization.

To learn more about how the recruitment experts at Polaris can help your organization implement strategic staffings solutions to meet your 2022 goals, contact us today.