Nurse hiring remains difficult, hurting staff morale and patient care, survey shows

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Healthcare providers are having a hard time hiring nurses, and the vacancies are having a negative impact on staff morale and patient care, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

Nearly half of available nursing jobs take six weeks or longer to fill, according to the nationwide survey of about 200 healthcare hiring managers and human resources professionals. As a result, 36% of respondents said that staff is overworked and employee morale suffers. A fifth of respondents said that patients get less attention, and 10% said more mistakes are made in the administration of patient care.

A separate survey of 500 employers, including skilled nursing facilities, home health providers and acute-care hospitals, sheds some light on why nursing jobs are hard to fill despite an increasing number of nursing school graduates.

Among the respondents currently hiring nurses, 41% said they were looking for experienced nurses, not new graduates. About a fifth of respondents said that they needed nurses trained in a specialized area, and roughly the same number said they are not able to offer competitive pay.

It was not specified how many nursing homes participated in the CareerBuilder surveys, but previous studies have found that long-term care facilities face greater challenges than other healthcare providers in hiring nurses.