The nursing shortage in the United States is more than just a lack of headcount, it is directly impeding the ability to deliver quality healthcare. As healthcare facilities all over the United States struggle to fill the employment gap in their nursing departments, the quality of healthcare decreases as the supply and demand disparity for more RNs increases. Recruiting international nurses has been proven to decrease turnover, improve patient safety and increase the quality of care provided. The result is that healthcare employers can have the peace of mind and confidence in both the quality and quantity of experienced nurses on the front lines of their facilities when they sponsor foreign nurses.
Decreased Turnover Rate
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2016-2026 states that, “Registered Nursing (RN) is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2026. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.9 million in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026, an increase of 438,100 or 15%. The Bureau also projects the need for an additional 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026 to fill newly created positions and to replace retiring nurses”. (AACN). However currently, the number of annual U.S. nursing graduates passing the NCLEX licensure exam is about 170,000. With the increased need for nurses, there simply will not be enough domestic graduates to fill those positions. International recruitment of RNs will fill in the increased nursing need as well as significantly increase the facility’s retention rate.
As illustrated in the below chart, the turnover rate for acute care hospitals is currently at 18.2%, and government-owned facilities has the highest turnover at 19%. South Central U.S. states have the highest regional turnover rate at 19.1%. North Central U.S. states have the lowest regional turnover at 16.8%. Hospitals that have under 200 beds have the lowest turnover rates at 16.8%. Hospitals that have 350-500 beds have the highest turnover rates at 19.5%.
With direct hire recruitment, international nurses who sign a job offer with a healthcare employer are contractually obligated to a mutually agreed upon return of service commitment. In most cases, the international nurse stays on well beyond the mandatory return of service time, often becoming a long service employee. Employers benefit greatly from this decreased turnover and related costs including:
- errors with patients due to burnout
- agency fees
- overtime for currently employed staff
Improved Patient Safety
Adequate staffing provides greater safety as well as greater quality of care for patients. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states, “The casual relationship between nurse-to-patient ratios and patient outcomes likely is accounted for by both increased workload and increased stress and risk of burnout for nurses”. Mistakes in performance are one consequence of increased stress and burnout due to inadequate staffing. In the healthcare industry, even the smallest mistake can cause a life or death situation to occur. National Nurses United stated, “There is a patient safety crisis in the United States. Every day it is estimated that 700 people die from preventable errors in their medical treatment or complications from those errors. Conservative estimates place the annual death toll from preventable errors, errors that should never occur in a safe hospital setting, at approximately 250,000 per year (Markary & Daniel, 2016). Other estimates place this figure at an alarming 400,000 deaths per year (Classen, et al., 2011).” While it may be true that healthcare facilities follow compliance laws with minimum staffing regulations, it is simply not enough to relieve the nursing staff of burnout. However, if facilities are able to hire the right amount of staff for their census numbers, quality of care increases as nursing staff burnout decreases.
Economically developed countries have nurses with a well-developed skillset entering into the United States workforce. These nurses are using the same type of equipment, which enables them to begin working once they are licensed, therefore, requiring less training. This will save the facility money on training costs because once they sign a job offer, they are advised and encouraged by their Case Manager to continue working in the area of nursing that they signed their job offer. For example, if their job offer states the nurse will be assigned to an acute care setting, that is where they are encouraged to continue working throughout the duration of their immigration process. These developed countries have expanded their capacity to train their nurses so they are able to work independently to carry out their duties. Recruiting international nurses from economically developed countries will also enable improvement not only to the access of quality healthcare, but the delivery as well. As an employer, compliance with HIPAA laws are important for protecting patient record information. International nurses have the same training as domestic nurses in patient confidentiality. With the training and skills they have developed overseas, they are more than qualified to fulfill their duties upon their U.S.A. arrival.
At WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions, all of our international nurses have at least their BSN when they submit their resumes and have also obtained more experience than the average U.S. graduate. Our nurses have at least two years of RN experience when they apply, which also saves their employer time and money on training. This experience that they have obtained promotes patient safety and decreases medical errors. They have also been educated and obtained optimal experience in carrying out treatment plans for each of their patients.
New York University conducted a study on hospitals that sponsor foreign nurses and discovered they have more stable, educated nursing workforces. Studies show that, “Internationally educated nurses—who receive their primary nursing education outside of the country where they currently work—have become an important part of the nursing workforce in many countries. In the U.S., recruiting internationally educated nurses has been used to address nursing shortages. While the true number of internationally educated nurses in the U.S. is difficult to capture, it is estimated that 5.6 to 16 percent—or 168,000 to 480,000—of the country’s more than 3 million nurses were educated in another country.” (Harrison, Rachel)
Our Experienced Team Is Ready to Help
WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions, LTD. offers employers a direct hire recruitment solution. Through this model, healthcare facilities across the United States have found relief in knowing that the international nurses they have hired will enable them to provide high quality care resulting in improved patient safety and care. Additionally, there are significant savings in turnover costs and decreased turnover rates for healthcare facilities that sponsor foreign nurses. International nursing professionals have, on average, higher education attainment than the average domestic nurse and increasingly they are coming from economically advanced countries with modern healthcare systems.
WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions Ltd. is a proud member of the Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices. Ron Hoppe, CEO of WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions, states, “We are proud of our 21-year track record of setting a high standard of ethical recruitment, particularly in the area of direct hire recruitment. For our integrity and reputation to be recognized by the Alliance is an honor.”
If your healthcare facility is interested in learning more about how to sponsor foreign nurses, our team is ready to meet all of your staffing needs through ethical international recruitment. Click here to download a free copy of our “USA Guide to Direct Hire International Recruitment”.