What Are They Thinking?

Due to COVID and variants, workers are rethinking their careers and expectations from employers. In fact, across a number of industries, a quarter of workers plan to look for new jobs according to a poll of 2,000 full-time US workers released by Prudential

However, the number is much higher when it comes to the senior living industry. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, up to fifty percent of senior care workers are thinking about or planning to leave for greener pastures.  

Consequently, senior care employers looking to attract talent must first understand workers’ expectations of them. Here’s what they’re thinking and looking for:

-More Flexibility. COVID-19 accelerated the need for flexibility in the workplace and therefore, traditional work schedules are disappearing. In fact, a flexible working schedule is the #1 desire of health care workers, with nurses especially in favor. Given the choice, health care workers would prefer to manage their own schedules and work with an organization willing to implement a hybrid model, combining remote work with on-site time. 

-Better Compensation and Benefits. Skilled Nursing News reports that more than half of health care workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities believe that their bosses haven’t done enough to boost their pay to account for the elevated risk of sickness and death during the pandemic. In addition to higher wages, they would like to see monetary rewards for going over and above, better training and advancement opportunities, longer breaks to recharge, and availability of resources such as mental health services.

-Leadership That Values Workers. Like all workers, senior care workers are looking for more support from the organizations that employ them. Recognition of a job well done is a start. Leadership needs to also show their employees appreciation, compassion, and empathy. They need to have the ability to understand the needs of their staff and be aware of their feelings and emotional wellness. It’s also important for leaders to go out of their way to show that they value their workers as professionals and as people. 

-Extra Hands.  Due to the pandemic, workers are feeling overworked, stressed-out, and/or totally exhausted. Why not offer them interim or part-time assistants to help reduce the workload?  In addition, as we all know, the senior care industry continues to face a worker shortage. Fortunately, some lawmakers are recognizing the challenge. For example, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 485 which establishes the Personal Care Attendant program as a career path to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. This action will help to expand the pool of caregivers needed.

-Infection Control Readiness. Every senior care facility should stockpile PPE. Staff wants their facility to not just prepare for another pandemic, but to prepare for other kinds of contagious events as well. States such as New Jersey and California recently mandated that nursing homes amass one to two months’ worth of masks, gloves, face shields, goggles, gowns, and other protective gear. 

-Increased Technology Investments. For those working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, keeping up with the latest technology has been a top concern. To continue these remote delivery models, workers want their organizations to provide the latest software and computer security plus upgrade their at-home hardware (extra monitors, headsets, etc.). Many also expect reimbursement for high-speed internet.  In addition, organizations may want to continue (or expand) clinician use of telemedicine platforms, allowing nurses to work remotely more often.

Skill Building & Cross Training.  Skill sets and capabilities required are shifting. Organizations will need to reskill in some areas and many workers, especially nurses, are eager for career training and development. According to the McKinsey study, nurses “floated” across units, acuity levels, and settings during the pandemic. Many are interested in continuing this kind of work arrangement moving forward.  Identifying and creating opportunities for interested nurses could help provide critical flexibility to meet demand across settings and specialties, where feasible.

Senior care employees are the true lifeblood of any senior care organization.  They are crucial to business recovery. Senior care organizations need to completely rethink how they attract, retain, and manage their workforce.


Julie Rupenski is the Founder, President & CEO of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since then, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. Her specialties include filling C-Suite, Vice President, Regional, and Property level positions.

Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry.  She previously worked in operations for both Senior Housing and Senior Living prior to founding MedBest. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact.

Julie’s industry articles and interviews have been published in McKnight’s Senior Living, Provider Magazine, Argentum Quarterly, LeadingAge Magazine, Florida Health Care Association Newsletter, PULSE, Florida Assisted Living Association Magazine, Florida Senior Living Association Newsletter, LeadingAge Indiana, Pennsylvania Health Care Association Newsletter, Virginia Assisted Living Newsletter and LeadingAge Florida.

Julie earned her degree in Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and continues to cultivate her career through senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos.

Contact Julie Rupenski at jrupenski@medbest.com / 727-526-1294.



MedBest is a national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire exceptional senior care talent, permanent and interim executives, for the full continuum of LTC facilities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care, Home Health Care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

Contact us at 727-526-1294 / info@medbest.com, visit us at www.medbest.com and connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @MedBestJobs.

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