Reimagine the Role of Nurses

In honor of National Nurses Week, Korn Ferry’s Fred Neis, RN, Tessa Misiaszek, and Maureen Sutton provide three key focus areas for building a future-proof nursing enterprise.

In recent years, nurses have become increasingly vital in healthcare. Once seen as simply providing patient care, they are now recognized for their significant impact on healthcare delivery and outcomes. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need for resilient, adaptable, and sustainable nursing teams. To tackle issues like turnover and sustainability, healthcare systems must rethink how they approach nursing.

While nursing has always been crucial for community health, the pandemic exacerbated issues like staff shortages and retention. Healthcare organizations struggle to retain nurses due to slow technology adoption, low pay, limited career growth, and safety concerns. Prioritizing nurse well-being is essential for maintaining a skilled and satisfied workforce in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

Recent trends indicate some stability, with lower labor costs and fewer nurse shortages than anticipated. This presents an opportunity for healthcare systems to focus on attracting and retaining top talent. Nurses face various challenges today, including increased demand for personalized care and rising healthcare costs, necessitating careful planning.

As we consider the future of the nursing workforce, several critical questions emerge. Firstly, how can we align our nursing staff with our business strategies for growth, revenue, and quality? Secondly, what strategies can cultivate a resilient and mission-ready workforce? These questions underscore the importance of strategic planning and proactive measures to meet evolving healthcare needs.

It's time to recognize nurses as value drivers within healthcare enterprises, rather than just cost factors. Nurses significantly impact revenue through effective risk-based contracting with quality outcomes and ensuring high patient satisfaction levels. They also contribute to managing organizational expenses, such as supply and procedure utilization.

Adapting to the changing healthcare landscape requires leveraging comprehensive data for informed decisions. Technology and teamwork can enhance efficiency and quality, positioning healthcare systems for success. Building a strong nursing team involves addressing systemic issues and creating an attractive workplace through investment, training, and diversity initiatives. This will not only benefit nurses but also enhance healthcare effectiveness and accessibility for all.

The path forward involves a holistic approach to redesigning, rebuilding, and reinforcing the nursing enterprise. This includes key focus areas:

  1. Cultural Readiness: Developing a culture that connects daily operations to the overarching mission is crucial. This involves embedding values that foster employee engagement and satisfaction.
  2. Compensation and Benefits: Aligning pay, benefits, and support structures with both business objectives and nurse expectations is essential. Innovative compensation models, such as performance-based pay, can help stabilize and motivate the workforce.
  3. Resilience and Support: Establishing robust support systems to address mental health and well-being is increasingly important. These systems should be accessible through multiple platforms to effectively meet nurses' needs.

The future of healthcare hinges on the effectiveness and resilience of the nursing workforce. By reimagining how nurses are integrated into the healthcare system, organizations can ensure that they not only deliver excellent patient care but also drive the strategic objectives of their organizations. This forward-thinking approach will guarantee the long-term success of healthcare systems and create healthier communities.

To read the full paper, click the image to download the PDF.

To find out how Korn Ferry helps healthcare organizations attract nursing talent, learn about our Healthcare & Life Sciences Solutions.