Smiling nurse in interview

A new report paints a more optimistic hiring picture for healthcare providers as the COVID-19 public health emergency winds down.

In a recent survey of nearly 1,700 clinical and clinical support staff nationwide, The Future of Healthcare Work Report 2023, Vivian Health, a healthcare job search website, found clinical staff had less negative feelings about their jobs than previous years during the pandemic. The poll also found that 86% of clinicians who worked as independent contractors in 2022 were open to taking permanent employment in 2023, if offered competitive wages. The average hourly wage sought by travel clinicians is $61.04 for registered nurses, $37.67 for licensed practical nurses and $27.56 for certified nursing assistants. 

“While this is good news for employers who lost registered nurses over the past two years to more lucrative travel positions, the reality is that attracting clinicians back to permanent employment will require investments in wages, improved workloads (e.g., better staffing), flexible schedules, and healthier work environments,” the report stated. 

After wages and benefits, the clinicians ranked commute time and flexible schedules as their top priorities. The respondents said they were seeking work arrangements that fit into their busy lives, as well as safe and secure work environments that are “free from incivility and violence.” Those issues were also cited in last year’s report but have taken on greater importance in 2023. 

There was also a year-over-year improvement in the number of clinicians looking for an off-ramp from nursing. Last year, 62% of respondents said they intended to leave healthcare within the next five years. That number declined to 45% this year.  

The report recommended providers hoping to hire clinicians consider offering higher hourly rates in lieu of statutory benefits, offer a variety of shift lengths to accommodate scheduling flexibility, improve workloads by hiring additional staff, seek input from staff and provide mental health and well-being programs. 

Job satisfaction in the healthcare industry declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a poll of 1,000 nurses late last year, 9 out of 10 said they thought patient care had suffered due to staff shortages during the pandemic. The PHE is set to conclude on May 11.