The Academy

What are Chief Nursing and Human Resource Officers Prioritizing in 2023?


Given rising costs, slowing revenue and continued margin challenges, health care labor costs – particularly for clinical roles – are expected to remain high in 2023.

As a result, both Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) and Chief HR Officers (CHROs) are prioritizing the development of financially sustainable recruitment and retention strategies; implementing data, predictive analytics and a more robust technology infrastructure for more effective workforce planning and reduce care team admin burden; building more flexible nurse staffing models; and investing in leadership success planning and development.

This fall, Health System CNO and CHRO leaders met to discuss these challenges and how they plan to address them in 2023.

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As we all know, rising costs coupled with slowing revenue are resulting in operating margin challenges for health systems. These headwinds are expected to prevail in 2023, impacting health systems’ ability to grow.

Recently, The Academy held three days of strategic forum discussions with CNOs and CHROs from Leading Health Systems to discuss these challenges and strategies to address them in 2023. Of note, the group spoke at length about four key topics:

1. Investing in Tech and Leadership Infrastructure

CHROs & CNOs agreed current recruitment models are not built to support present and future workforce demands, forcing leaders to reimagine the recruitment process through better analytics. Health systems also noted they need to invest in the correct infrastructure and leadership team to execute future recruitment efforts and identify current bottlenecks in the process.

2. Determining the ROI of Virtual Nursing Pilots

Inpatient virtual nursing pilots are top of mind for CNOs as they look to experiment with care team redesign. Some questions CNOs are still trying to answer around virtual nursing include: single unit assignments vs. Capacity-based assignments, securing buy in from staff, and making the case for investment to the C suite particularly CFOs.

3. Reimagining Retention Strategies for the Entire Workforce

Retention remains a key performance metric, with CHROs reimagining benefit offerings and flexibilities to improve work-life balance among staff. However, they’re trying to balance retention strategy with financial realities. Notably, many CHROs are facing challenges to streamline pay structures for specialty roles (e.g., anesthesia) and difficult to fill roles (e.g., IP Nurse).

4. Examining the Impact of C-suite Turnover

Workforce needs are evolving in terms of the types of skills and roles needed to deliver consumer-centric, tech-enabled care. In some cases, this means evolving roles and responsibilities across the C-suite, a reshuffling of management teams each time a new CEO comes onboard, or a replacement needed for a departed CEO. As a result, Leading Health Systems are prioritizing succession planning for their C-suite to avoid a stalemate in strategy.

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