Richard Cresswell

Five Ways To Overcome Skills Shortages In Your Nursing Home

Nursing shortages

Nursing Homes stand or fall on the quality of their people – and if your Nursing Home can’t recruit enough Nursing staff with the right...

Nursing Homes stand or fall on the quality of their people – and if your Nursing Home can’t recruit enough Nursing staff with the right level of skills and experience, that’s potentially a serious problem.

Unfortunately, research suggests this is a common problem for small and medium-sized Nursing homes in the UK today.

In one study published last year by the British Chambers of Commerce, more than two-thirds of SMEs said they were struggling to recruit sufficient numbers of skilled staff. This year, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned that SMEs are suffering more than larger businesses from the skills gap – and that many are missing out on growth opportunities as a result.

Health Recruit Networks (DRNs) own research echoes such warnings. Nearly 80% of Nursing Homes see skills shortages as a problem for their Homes, according to recent findings from HRNs Barometer – a quarterly survey canvassing the opinion of Nursing Home owners and managers. Further, 96% say they worry about whether they’ll be able to recruit staff with the right skills this year.

One problem is that the UK does not seem to be producing sufficient numbers of workers with the skills that employers need: the Government-backed UK Commission for Employment and Skills said recently that too many younger people lack technical ability and qualifications – but also that many don’t have basic work skills.

However, it’s not just supply shortages that are causing problems. In particular, demand for Nursing Home Nurses has increased considerably alongside the demand for healthcare. This is coupled with the fact that many European Nursing Staff have NOT returned from their native country post Brexit and post pandemic. 

Faced with supply and demand issues, how do Nursing Homes confront skills shortages? In practice, there are a number of potential coping mechanisms:


1. Invest in training

Some smaller Nursing Homes understandably feel they don’t have the resources to meet the cost of training; either the cash to pay for training or the depth of staffing to release people for courses. But if your Nursing Home is suffering from skills shortages, ignoring training may be a false economy – it’s likely to be easier to train existing staff than to take on new employees. If your finances don’t currently leave room for training budgets, investigating new sources of funding could be the answer.


2. Expand the search

If you can’t find the right people, it’s possible you’re not looking in the right places. Experiment with new approaches to recruitment – that might mean anything from changing your recruitment agency to advertising in new places, attending job fairs and putting the word out on social media. Keep your website up-to-date with current vacancies, but don’t assume good quality candidates will find you; being proactive is key.


3. Consider taking on Nursing associates

Research conducted last year by HRN found that Nursing Homes were often reluctant to take on nursing associates, but the Government is making a concerted effort to persuade employers to do more in this area. It now offers financial assistance to companies that take on associates and has promoted the use of training bodies and other industry schemes that can help reduce red tape. An assocaite may not solve your Nursing Homes immediate skills shortage, but can be a great way to train people for the future and support your Registered Nurses.


4. Rethink the Nursing workforce

More than a million people over the age of 65 are now working on a part-time or temporary basis. Such Nursing staff can be an excellent way to bring skills and experience into your Nursing Home, even if you don’t offer them full-time and permanent contracts. Not only do such workers provide expertise that may otherwise be lacking, but they can also play a valuable role mentoring less experienced staff.


5. Focus on Nursing staff retention

If your Nursing Home is struggling to find new talent, it can’t afford to lose the knowledgeable workers it already has. Successful Nursing Homes work hard at creating a culture that encourages people to stay. That doesn’t have to mean more pay – flexible working, or recognition through increased annual leave, for instance, can be just as attractive to some. 


Do you need help plugging a skills shortgage gap?

Perhaps you are a Nursing Home needing staff, or a Nurse looking for a Nursing Home that Invests in training and focuses on Staff Rentention.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help: