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Skilled Nursing Graduates Help Nursing Home Fill Workforce Gaps

Problem: Finding Skilled Nurses

One director of a long-term skilled nursing home in Florida knows how important it is to find and hire qualified nursing graduates.

“There’s a huge shortage of skilled nurses right now, and organizations are looking to schools that can produce graduates quickly and efficiently,” she noted. “That’s what we really need.”

In Florida, demand for registered nurses is projected to increase by 21 percent from 2016-2026, resulting in 14,310 new job openings each year. Demand for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) is also on the rise, with 4,380 annual job openings projected through 2026.

In some Florida communities, nurse unemployment is around 2 percent, making it a challenge to find trained nurses to fill open jobs. Considering this situation, the director noted, “We are working diligently on both recruitment and retention strategies to ensure that we obtain and retain the best quality staff.” This nursing community is thankful that they found a university partner in Herzing that prepares nursing graduates for the demands of the workforce. Herzing University also just happens to be this director’s alma mater

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Employer in the Community

Employer

Herzing is a great school. They have an unwritten rule of success.

Solution: A Partnership With Herzing University

One aspect of a nurse’s development that is often overlooked is the value of interpersonal and “soft” skills, which are as critical to a new nurse’s success as his or her technical training.

“A lot of new nurses haven’t had an opportunity to practice interpersonal skills,” the director stated. “In long-term care, patience and compassion are necessities.”

The nursing home community appreciates how Herzing’s nursing program emphasizes the importance of soft skills, such as communication and critical thinking, as well as cultural diversity.

Core soft skills, such as professionalism, respect, integrity, caring and engagement, are also encompassed in Herzing’s P.R.I.C.E. of Success framework. These values, which are the foundation for a successful, meaningful career, are central to the curriculum and the culture of Herzing to ensure students’ personal and professional development.

These values transfer to students’ interactions outside the classroom as well. In the simulation lab, for example, nursing students are encouraged to interact with the life-like patient model the same way they would a real person. This makes a big difference in how graduates approach patient care in the real world.

Many of the P.R.I.C.E values are reflected in the training and onboarding of new nurses in real nursing facilities.

“I certainly want professionalism and competency from my clinical staff,” the director said. “Respect, integrity, caring and engagement are all key points we stress during our orientation.”

Herzing nursing students spend a great deal of time developing clinical skills, first in the lab and then through clinical rotations at hospitals and other healthcare settings.

“New graduates tend to be nervous. They haven’t had a lot of opportunities to practice,” she said. “By contrast, Herzing graduates have had the opportunity to hone their skills. They are more experienced and show a higher level of competence in the job.”

 

Result: Satisfied Patients and a Robust, Competent Staff

To help healthcare organizations meet the growing demand for skilled nurses, Herzing offers a variety of nursing pathways that make it possible for individuals to begin or advance their nursing careers.

In recent years, the Florida nursing home has hired several graduates of Herzing University’s bachelor’s in nursing (BSN), associate’s in nursing (ASN) and practical nursing (DPN) programs. They can attest to the fact that Herzing’s comprehensive nursing curriculum means graduates are prepared to work on day one. They don’t need a lot of additional one-on-one training or direction.

Through a partnership with Herzing University, healthcare organizations can ensure they find workforce-ready nurses who possess the clinical judgment and critical thinking skills necessary to provide the highest quality of patient care.

As both as a clinical preceptor and a member of Herzing’s nursing advisory board, the Florida nursing home director is also able to provide direct feedback to students and influence training. This collaborative partnership ensures that the nursing home has a steady source of qualified nurses to meet hiring demands.

“Herzing is a great school,” she said. “There is an unwritten rule of success, in a way. You must be well-prepared in order to graduate from a program like Herzing’s. I really value our relationship and look forward to more years working together.”

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