Instant Pay May Aid Nursing Recruitment During Shortage

Hospitals and other healthcare-related facilities are turning to gig economy apps to fill gaps in their nursing staff. This employment crunch began in 2020 and 2021 as a direct result of pandemic-related pressures but has continued into 2023. The shortage amounts to the largest drop in nursing employment in over four decades. By turning to gig economy apps, hospitals hope to meet nurses’ demands for flexible hours, shorter shifts, greater control and higher pay. Using these platforms, hospitals may access a larger labor pool and adjust pay rates as an alternative to temporary staffing agencies. 

However, turning to the gig economy model presents some risk for hospitals, who have to adjust to uncertainty around shifts being reliably filled. To minimize this uncertainty, some healthcare organizations may consider implementing additional or alternative incentives to retain their current staff and possibly recruit prospective workers. 

One of these tools could be the option for nurses to have their wages paid in real-time or as close to it as possible. As detailed in the PYMNTS collaboration with Ingo Money, “Disbursement Satisfaction Report 2023,” 39% of consumers prefer their income and earnings to be disbursed instantly. It stands to reason consumers employed in nursing may be interested in similar payment speeds. 


Indeed, in an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, healthcare job marketplace Clipboard Health CEO and founder Wei Deng explains why perks such as instant payment options may make the difference in hiring competitively. “People that can get [nurses] paid that same day can overcome the extra $2 an hour because people want access to funds faster. If they are going to get paid an extra $2 or $3 an hour but won’t get paid for two weeks, we see that people would rather get paid a little bit less and get access to funds faster.”

With the gig marketplace for hiring nurses now firmly established, it may be expected that this competitive hiring landscape to continue for the foreseeable future. As speedy or instant payments have been an attractive hiring tool in other gig marketplaces, it may hold some of the same appeal when it comes to the nursing sector. 

As hospitals and other healthcare firms already get underway updating their consumer-facing payments platforms, they may consider updating their payroll systems as well. Enabling such options may make the life-or-death difference when hiring during the ultra-competitive nursing shortage.