McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Interviews MedBest’s Katie Piperata & Christina Johnson For 2022 Industry Talent Outlook

‘Tunnel’ gets darker: 3 in 5 nursing home managers tell McKnight’s they expect 2022 to be worse

By KIMBERLY MARSELAS

An alarming 78% of nursing home operators and workers don’t expect the workforce to return to pre-pandemic levels for at least another year — if ever. That’s just one stark finding from the McKnight’s 2022 Outlook Survey, in which industry leaders report feeling largely pessimistic about the new year.

Leaders also remain highly concerned about rebuilding census, tighter regulatory compliance and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

…Dangerous’ satisfaction numbers

Job satisfaction slipped noticeably in 2021. In December 2020, respondents reported a rating of 6.8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. That was after 10 months of pandemic conditions.

This December, that overall average fell to just 6, for a relative drop of about 12%. Satisfaction fell across all job titles, from 6.3 to 6 among owners or CEOs; from 6.9 to 5.6 among administrators; and from 6.9 to 5.5 among DONs.

Staffing experts told McKnight’s that’s dangerous territory for nurse managers and staff in other top-level positions, where shortages were intensifying in late 2021.

“I do think a ‘six’ would trigger a job change, but frankly, in my opinion, for someone in a supervisor or nursing supervisor level, it’s probably outside of the industry,” said Christina Johnson, a senior recruiter with MedBest, a Florida-based executive recruitment firm. “There are a lot of other options for a nurse obviously, and some of our competitors outside the nursing home world are offering really huge incentives like very flexible scheduling…that afford more quality of life.”

Johnson’s colleague, recruiter Katie Piperata, said much of the dissatisfaction can be tied to elements out of operators’ control.

“It’s probably that 10,000-foot view of all the inconsistency with CMS and CDC regulations coming down. It’s driving a lot of the instability for the administrator and DON, even the corporate offices,” Piperata said. “It’s really hard to rally troops and make good business decisions and build morale, when every single week, every month … there are so many changes. It’s making it really hard to not feel like you’re in a volatile environment.”

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