Flexible Scheduling for Nurses or Lip Service?

As healthcare struggles with staffing shortages, I’m continually baffled by the lack of flexible scheduling for nurses. This past week I spoke with a young nurse who told me she wants to continue working at the bedside but cannot work 12-hour shifts because childcare doesn’t coincide with those hours. She is frustrated, disillusioned, and currently employed in a non-healthcare job.

In speaking with “Jess” I was struck by her passion for nursing as well as her intelligence and professional growth. So why isn’t she working in nursing? With a toddler at home, she is seeking the work/life balance afforded by shorter shifts. “My shifts started at 6:00 AM and no childcare was available that early. I also hate to be away for 12 hours when my child is so young.” Her dilemma is not new. Unfortunately, it is the same challenge I experienced 40 years ago, and it feels like little has changed.

What Nurses Really Want

Younger workers want flexibility and work/life balance. They also want a supportive culture. Is healthcare listening? It’s been decades since I fought with human resources to allow me to offer four-hour shifts. I was a renegade. I was able to prove my case, but it wasn’t without a fight.

We need to be more innovative in how we utilize talent. Young, smart, and passionate nurses are leaving the bedside because they cannot balance family with available jobs. I feel we have failed. 

Well-being hinges on balance. Until we, as a nation, make high-quality, affordable childcare a top priority, we’ll continue to grapple with staffing issues.

Why is Flexible Scheduling for Nurses So Important?

Nursing remains a female-dominated profession at 86% women. That means healthcare is in women’s hands. In addition, the majority of domestic responsibilities still fall to women, adding greater stress when working outside the home.

Childcare and domestic support services can be game-changers when attracting and retaining staff. It’s time to make it a priority.

Let Baird Group help transform your culture into a workplace where staff thrives. Contact us today to learn more about our transformational consulting services. Call 866-686-7672 or email info@baird-group.com.

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