As more than half of nurses now say they would not recommend the same career for their children, data shows that those in tech-enabled per diem roles are less stressed than full-time counterparts
IntelyCare (@IntelyCare), a tech-enabled nurse staffing platform for healthcare organizations in the United States, released the first major study analyzing the demonstrable impact gig work and technology are having on nursing professionals. The study, which aggregates findings from surveys conducted by Reputation Leaders and Oliver Wyman, found that more nurses and nursing assistants are seeking flexibility in their work lives and that those who have adopted gig working apps are more likely to feel that they are thriving in their careers. Nurses working in a per diem capacity are also less likely to leave their current role (13%) compared to those who are not (30%), according to the findings.
The study found that nurses who are a part of the gig economy are less stressed, happier, and take better care of their mental and physical health than permanent staffers. The study revealed that a third of nurses who have never worked in a per diem capacity feel anxious or uncertain about their career, compared to just one in five per diem nurses. And those who shifted to a tech-enabled per diem role early feel more empowered, as 43% of these early technology adopters more often describe themselves as successful and confident in their nursing careers.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing professionals are retiring earlier, nursing student enrollment is dropping, and more healthcare workers are quitting than ever before. While nearly 75% of nurses choose their career based on a desire to help others, more than half would now not recommend that their children follow in their footsteps. According to the American Nurses Association, more than 500,000 registered nurses are expected to leave by the end of 2022. McKinsey reports even more dire statistics, citing that 1 in 3 nurses plan to leave the bedside by the end of the year. Gig models for staffing nursing professionals must be embraced to address the work-life balance issues that nearly all of those surveyed cited as a primary concern.
Working hours have increased by up to 15% across the nursing workforce over the last two years and 56% of those surveyed pointed to workload as the cause for leaving a job. Nurses are now consistently working more than the typical 36-hour-per-week pre-pandemic norm, with nursing assistants working nearly 52 hours per week on average. As a result, the flexibility and compensation offered by a per diem model have become significantly more attractive. More than half of the nursing workforce wants to change their career plans and 45% of those working in a post-acute care setting are now considering a gig-based role in the near term.
“If we want to keep more nurses by the bedside, we have to provide them with the same predictability and control over their time that technology is affording other professions,” said David Coppins, IntelyCare CEO. “The scheduling demands on nurses are not sustainable, especially with the rise of the gig economy and flexibility they’re seeing in other careers. A more data-driven approach to scheduling for nurses that allows them to pick shifts that meet the needs of their lives is crucial and will enable systems to reduce turnover.”
Estimated turnover in 2021 ranged from 22-36% for registered nurses and 33-52% for certified nursing assistants, with the time-to-fill for a bedside nurse vacancy now at 90 days. IntelyCare’s study suggests that traditional levers such as pay increases and retention bonuses will not be enough to keep many nursing professionals and healthcare organizations will need to adopt flexible staffing approaches to curb the turnover.
The study found that a majority (56%) of per diem nurses prioritize their health, while 61% of those in full-time roles put their job before their physical and mental well-being. 60% of the per diem nurses surveyed had more “left in the tank” after a week of working compared to 49% of their full-time counterparts.
While there is a strong desire among nursing professionals to achieve more flexibility in their careers, many are still apprehensive about switching jobs because of the familiarity and stability their current role provides. 29% of survey respondents cited relationships with patients and staff and 45% cited the unknowns of working in a new facility as reasons for staying put. As staffing technologies get more sophisticated, however, there are now more opportunities to find that stability in flexible per diem roles. Staffing apps, like IntelyCare, can offer the ability to schedule a longer-term engagement with a healthcare facility to create more familiarity between a per diem nurse and the facility’s processes, internal staff, and residents. The IntelyCare app also provides nurses and nursing assistants with in-app training, as well as specific information on a facility and a rating system.
As part of the research, the surveys also spoke specifically to nursing professionals who work for IntelyCare, known as IntelyPros. IntelyPro respondents were likely to feel more confident (42% vs 33%), happy (37% vs 26%), and as if they were thriving in their career (27% vs 9%) than the respondents outside of IntelyCare.
“We’ve seen first-hand how the flexibility of per diem nursing can change the lives of our IntelyPros,” said Rebecca Love, chief clinical officer at IntelyCare. “I’ve personally spoken to dozens of IntelyPros (IPs) who would have left the nursing profession/bedside entirely if it wasn’t for IntelyCare. These IntelyPros are grateful for the time they’ve gotten back to spend with their families and do the things that many of us take for granted, like taking their kids or grandkids to swimming lessons or soccer practice or being present for holidays. Many of our IPs near retirement love the flexibility of working in one state during the summer and another – like Florida – over the winter. But one of the best things about IntelyCare is seeing how many of our IntelyPros are able to work with us while also attending school to grow in their nursing careers.”
IntelyCare is the leading tech-enabled nurse staffing platform for healthcare organizations in the United States. Through its AI-based platform, IntelyCare addresses the nation’s growing healthcare labor challenges by placing nursing professionals in increasingly distributed care settings. In doing so, IntelyCare provides nurses and nursing assistants with unprecedented flexibility in their work lives while simultaneously empowering healthcare organizations to take complete control of how they manage full-time, part-time, and per diem nursing staff.