Instead of taking drastic actions to deal with the impending nursing shortage, why not work to amplify the efforts of those employees you already have?

By Susan Saldibar

How are you preparing for the impending nursing shortage? Probably not your favorite question. But the shortage will soon impact your community if it hasn’t already. And, for you skeptics, there’s an abundance of data out there to prove this is not just a lot of hype.

We Are Losing 700,000 Registered Nurses by 2024

Here’s a number that should make you nervous: A recent article in The Atlantic cites research that estimates 700,000 registered nurses will exit the workforce by 2024. And, we all know who they are; they’re baby boomers who are retired or getting ready to retire in large numbers. It’s already starting to have an impact. And the void will only get larger, leaving senior living community staffing more stretched than ever.

I caught up with Kian Saneii, CEO of Independa (a Senior Housing Forum partner). Kian is well aware of the challenges on the horizon as senior living communities scramble to find ways of adjusting to the upcoming shortage. Many are attempting to attract new recruits with lucrative employment packages, containing lots of incentives geared towards recruiting and retaining them.

Yet, even with an all-out hiring push, operators need to find some creative ways to do more with less. And there are ways to meet that challenge that, according to Kian, make good sense, at least as a first step (and save some of the scrambling around).

Avoid Drastic Actions — Plan Ahead

Here is Kian’s point, and it’s a good one: Instead of taking drastic actions as your first step, why not work to amplify the efforts of those employees you already have? That’s the strategy being adopted by many senior living communities who have turned to technology providers, like Independa, to extend the reach of their nurses and other staff members. And this is a great time to do it, as there is some innovative technology out there to help. 

Independa has developed a solution that enables community staff members to distribute information and interact with residents by using highly simplified technology to automate important, but lower value tasks that can take up a lot of valuable time – and it uses the TV in front of every resident’s bed. No new devices, nothing new to learn.  What does that mean? It means that, by freeing up these tasks, your nursing team can spend more high-value time in front of residents who need it the most. And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

Using Technology To Save Staff Time

Here are a few of the things Independa is now delivering, all via the familiar TV:

  • Smart medication reminders

  • Dining menus

  • Community calendars

  • Sign-ups for activities

  • Important health tips

  • Surveys

Promote Amenities and Ancillary Services

It isn’t hard to see how this saves staff time. And, what’s great about it is that it also helps promote your amenities and ancillary services. That means additional efficiencies and revenue as well. Independa handles the more routine needs of residents so that, even with a reduced workforce, the quality of engagement isn’t compromised.

And, in addition to taking a lot of work off the backs of the team, there are added benefits to consider:

  • Reduced staff stress

  • Increased high-value “face time”

  • Improved resident engagement

  • A solid competitive edge

“As operators look for ways to do more with less, technology should be on their short list of solutions, especially as first steps and not a reluctant last resort or afterthought,” says Kian. “Those senior care organizations that deliver the quality of care their residents expect and deserve, regardless of staff size or labor market shortages, will be that much better positioned to compete going forward!” 

For more information about Independa solutions, you can visit their website:

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