Planning on the Nursing Front Line

HR Planning during the Nursing Crisis

In the health care sector, according to recent German Federal Employment Agency statistics, there is currently a shortage of around 40,000 nurses. For every 100 vacancies in elderly care, there are on average nineteen applicants. In nursing, the ratio is 100 reported vacancies to 41 unemployed nurses. The German Nursing Council (DPR) is expecting a shortage of 300,000 nurses by 2030, of which 200,000 will be needed in elderly care alone. The nursing crisis, or the staffing shortage in the various institutions of health and social care, has long been a hot topic among policy-makers, not least because it is set to become more and more acute: Germans are growing older and older. The number of people needing care is therefore going to increase purely as a result of this demographic trend.

While the German government is addressing this staffing crisis in its Immediate Programme of Action on Nursing by making the nursing profession more attractive with collective wage agreements, and thus hoping to acquire more skilled workers, the operators of hospitals, old people’s homes and nursing homes continue to be faced with the hard work of avoiding shortfalls in the provision of care and ensuring treatment for their patients despite being understaffed.

Whether it’s a question of extending the working hours of the widespread part-time nursing posts or of recruiting or training healthcare assistants, everything must always revolve around optimising the deployment of the nursing staff. In view of the fact that nurses experience high levels of physical and psychological stress, HR managers, at least in theory, strive for their nurses to have as good a work-life balance as possible. Yet the workload is still huge. The consequences are that sickness rates are high and that many nurses leave the profession early. “This trend is becoming even more marked because of the ageing workforce in social service providers,” Silke Gebhard, an HR management expert at Corporate Planning, reports from her own day-to-day experience.

“What impact is the staffing shortage having on our care facility? What will it cost me to train healthcare assistants if they are gone to begin with but then return as qualified professionals? What does the above-average proportion of women mean to me in terms of part-time employment and the probability of absence as they take parental leave? And how do I realistically take the sickness and staff turnover rates into account? These are the tricky questions facing many HR planners,” the HR management expert Ms Gebhard explains. All these questions essentially relate to the HR costs and thus to the profitability of the business. These concerns are aggravated by cuts in funding across all institutions in the health and social care sector.

An IT-based HR plan delivers concrete answers to the questions asked by HR planners and hospital or care home operators. With specialist HR management software solutions, scenario analyses depicting best and worst cases, evaluations and informative reports are quick to implement – even for users who do not have IT skills. Comprehensive, out-of-the-box solutions, which are available at modest, flat-rate prices, have now been on the market for some time.

Of course, IT-based planning structures alone are not going to solve the nursing crisis, but professional, software-based HR management can certainly deliver a sound basis for meeting the current challenges by enabling valuable human resources to be managed in a way that is transparent, easily audited and flexible.

Any questions? You can ask the HR management specialist Silke Gebhard at the end of her free live webinar (German only) on “Software-Based HR Management”. To register, please click HERE.