The global marketplace continues to be in an extraordinarily challenging and volatile time in our world’s history. As market demands rapidly fluctuate, supply chain disruptions are the new reality for the foreseeable future. Fueling the quagmire is the war in Ukraine, global inflation, and shortages of goods and skilled labor, thus triggering increasing supply chain costs in all sectors, especially healthcare.
To combat the supply chain challenges that lie ahead, healthcare organizatons (HCOs) must work to take strategic and calculated steps to ensure they have all the necessary resources to properly care for patients (Van Dyke, 2023). During the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the healthcare supply chains experienced extreme shortages in various areas, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and skilled labor, especially Registered Nurses (RNs). Although some HCO supply chain shortages have since eased, others have been exacerbated by the aftermath.
One such challenge is highlighted in a recent compelling nursing research study titled, “Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout and Stress Among U.S. Nurses.” In this publication,Dr. Brendan Martin and colleagues at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSB) reported that high workloads and unprecedented levels of stress have completely strained the United States healthcare workforce. These unsafe conditions have contributed to over 100,000 RNs leaving the profession. Comparatively, the aftereffect of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in astronomical levels of nurse burnout and compassion fatigue, leading to 610,388 RNs expecting to leave nursing by 2027. To complicate matters further, an additional 188,962 RNs under the age of 40 declared an intention to leave the nursing profession altogether (Martin et al., 2023).
To compact nurse burnout and alarming numbers of RN turnover and attrition, HCOs must pivot quickly towards creative, evidence-based strategies to ameliorate the health and well-being of RNs and the entire healthcare workforce (Fuchs, 2021). Moreover, HCOs need a strategic workforce partner to ensure they have the right people with the right skills in the correct positions to provide high-quality care to their patients. Additionally, strategic workforce partners should be paramount in an HCO’s short- and long-term plans to help address RN and caregiver recruitment, placement, retention, training, and resources to support mental health and well-being.
Lastly, when seeking a workforce supply chain partner, look for an organization of clinical thought leaders, human resource experts, and advanced recruitment technologies. Finally, strengthening your supply chain to build resiliency requires a commitment to authentic leadership, integrity, communication, and collaboration. Ultimately, finding the right strategic supply chain partners will be critical for achieving high-quality patient outcomes and a safety culture dedicated to recruiting and retaining top talent.
Fuchs, M. A. (2021, September). Pandemic Lessons Learned. American Organization for Nursing Leadership, 19(5), 21-22.
Martin, B., Kaminski-Ozturk, N., O’Hara, C., Smiley, R. (2023, April). Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout and Stress Among U.S. Nurses. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 14(1), 4-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2155-8256(23)00041-8
Van Dyke, M. (2023, February). Strengthening Your Supply Chain: How to Build Resiliency and Reliability Into Operations. American College of Healthcare Executives, 38(1), 9-14.