Nurses are the heart of healthcare. Day and night, on weekends and holidays, nurses keep healthcare facilities running smoothly while providing the high-quality care patients need to improve their outcomes. Literally and figuratively, nurses save lives.
However, the heart of healthcare is facing a crisis. Rapid advances in medical technology, treatment options, and pharmaceuticals are intersecting with an exodus of nurses from the profession at a time when the demand for quality care is at an all-time high.
As an essential part of the healthcare team, it is critical to invest in nurse training and upskilling, which is the process of gaining new skills to improve job performance. Upskilling nurses has a wide range of benefits for healthcare facilities, patients, and the nurses themselves.
Here are five reasons why healthcare facilities should make an investment in upskilling their nursing staff.
1. Enhancing Patient Care through Upskilling
From electronic health records to wound treatment, advances in healthcare are changing patient care rapidly. Nurses on the frontlines need training on medical advances to maintain high-quality care that improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs.
Upskilling nurses on medical technology, pharmacology, and new treatment options can enhance their clinical knowledge and provide opportunities for them to work across medical disciplines if they choose. For healthcare facilities, that means upskilled nurses can support various areas, leading to top-quality care for patients. Additionally, upskilling improves nurses' skills, allowing them to provide better care and offering career advancement opportunities.
2. Retaining Nursing Staff: The Solution to the Nursing Shortage
The nursing shortage in healthcare facilities has reached critical levels. To combat this, it is essential to retain the top talent already on staff. Offering upskilling opportunities is a way to keep nursing staff motivated and satisfied.
In a recent study, 70% of people stated that if the company they worked for gave them more opportunities to apply new skills, they would be more likely to stay throughout their careers. Upskilling can include clinical skills or important soft skills like communication and problem-solving, and it can also help build a pipeline of skilled nurses for leadership positions.
3. Upskilling as a Recruitment Tool
Nurse job hunters seek opportunities for career development and advancement through upskilling. Showcasing your commitment to providing learning and growth opportunities will help your facility stand out from other job postings and attract motivated talent.
Benefits such as tuition reimbursement for higher nursing degrees can be enticing for potential candidates. Upskilling nurses not only attracts top talent but also benefits healthcare facilities in the long run, as nursing teams gain advanced skills through these opportunities.
4. Reducing Costs by Upskilling Nurses
There is a real cost to healthcare facilities that have nursing teams that aren’t equipped to treat patients with the latest medical protocols, pharmaceuticals, or medical technology. Patients could incur longer hospital stays or complications. They could even experience poor outcomes.
There is also a cost to recruiting new team members if your nurses decide to go to another facility that offers better opportunities. Recruiting from within for leadership positions is another way to reduce costs by upskilling your current team with the leadership qualities you are looking for.
5. Improving Efficiency through Upskilling
Upskilling can help nurses perform their jobs better and more efficiently, saving time and budget. Nurses can be upskilled on treatment techniques and medical technology to reduce time-consuming and costly errors. Specially trained nurses are more efficient, which leads to better and faster patient care.
Effective Strategies for Implementing Nurse Upskilling
Once you make the decision to include upskilling in your benefits package, you should build a strategy behind your program.
You could offer tuition reimbursement or access to continuing education courses, which can be done in your facility or online. The American Nurses Association offers continuing education courses for nurses in a variety of specialty areas. Many other organizations do the same. Facilities can subscribe to these entities, and then the entire nursing staff can take advantage of the upskilling opportunities at a time that fits into their schedules.
Mentorship is another way to upskill nursing staff. Pair your more experienced and skilled nurses with your newer staff to help guide them in their early careers.
Investing in your nursing team today will benefit your facility, patients, and nurses for years to come.