While it is enticing for many to blame the epidemic and the contagious spread for the healthcare staffing shortage that the medical industry sees today. The world had seen the staff shortage crisis in history as well when the recession upsurge in December 2007 which was brought to control till June 2009. Where;
- Hospitals were on the verge of nursing vacancies that demanded them to pay the premium while working to improve the hospitals working conditions
- Not only did nurses leave hospitals, but physicians also faced burnout during their duty hours and were forcibly compelled to leave their practices in the middle.
- Plus, workers with non-technical or medical backgrounds at the hospitals were moved to other industries in order to get better pay.
Although many families are still struggling, the roots of the COVID-19 crisis have made the mattress of worries hard to lie on. Later in the blog today, you will find out the workforce situation in the world since the pandemic surged. Also, the risks that organizations face as it becomes challenging for them to offset the foreseen effects of healthcare workers leaving the medical and healthcare profession and compiling the strategies to mitigate this scarcity.
How did the Staffing shortage happen?
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 hit the world, it shut down all elective procedures with a declining volume of the workforce that halted future surgeries. Plus, the safety concern of the contiguous COVID-19 raised concerns to the hospitals which urged them to cancel the medical procedures in line, lack of childcare staff, and the space and supply shortage that almost every territory faced in the pandemic. Between the time of March 2020 to June 2002, the workforce shortage reached up to 60% compared to pre-pandemic times.
The volume of staff declined due to the financial losses the healthcare system and hospitals faced during the pandemic period. Many organizations decided to put the employees on furlough and laid off many to meet their financial burdens, yet they had unpaid premiums.
Later, the organization was backed by the federal cushions of the CARES Act and they started receiving funding from the government, they took off the furlough and decided to rehire the staff they laid off during the tough pandemic financial times. Everyone including nurses, doctors, and physicians was overburdened during the pandemic days in serving the patients day and night in the difficult and tough working conditions. In addition, the non-technical staff were forced to work from home during the pandemic days.
However, once the surge in the vacancies rolled back, many healthcare workers returned to fill the vacant positions. For now, they have ample opportunities in hand to grab as the needs of the healthcare workforce continue to grow in recent times as well. It also decreased the unemployment rate from 2020 spring which was 10% to 3% – 4%.
Despite the rate of unemployment having significantly reduced, some organizations are still in a high number of vacancies as the employees who left their job due to challenging working conditions have decided not to go back to the organization with a low pay scale and the position they left previously.
A recent report showed that the employed healthcare workforce turnover rate was increased by 20% compared to the end of 2020 which was 19% whereas the nursing department showed an increase from 18.7% to 28%. The report was based on several key factors for this increase in turnover.
Career Advancement; Staff leaves an organization when they see the lack of career advancement and promotion opportunities along with favoritism of the higher management. Also, they often decide to move abroad for further education and explore other faculties of their interest.
Retirement: People do not accept change sometimes. The fear of technological advancements scares them mostly and instead of growing with time they choose to retire.
Working conditions: Workers happily work extra hours when they are appreciated and paid well in a controlled environment. But in COVID -19, staff burnt out due to 24/7 shifts.
Pay: Staff also gets attracted to higher salaries. They are hired by the organization with more than 50% higher salaries than their current organization. Many opt for work at home when they get the opportunity with higher and more compelling pay.
Regulatory needs: Workers’ turnover also increased when the organizations put in place the mandatory requirement of vaccinated employees. A higher turnover is also predicted in the coming years. However, the staffing shortage wasn’t the issue that remained unnoticed. An article by Fitch Ratings observed that the healthcare industry will see long-term impacts of staffing shortages in the coming years. This is why they need to make efficient financial and operational strategies to hire skillful and trained staff to minimize the gap.
Else, the sector can be considered the riskiest industry for the next rating agencies.
Effective responses to the staff shortage issue
Staff shortages have nevertheless become a critical issue over the past two years which compelled the organizations to think and keep it center of focus when they make long-term financial strategies. A few strategies that the hospital executives compiled include;
- To improve the current wage system and cooperation infrastructure
- To alleviate the employee retention program to control the employee turnover
- To work on workforce infrastructure and train them when needed
- Implement, design, and optimize the technologies to eliminate the redundancy and simplify the work process,
- Raise the workforce supply to other organizations
Although, these are some of the main strategies of some organizations which are also rendered according to organizations’ needs. However, the main goal of these strategies is the same which is to satisfy the employee at work, recruit staff in a way that avoids disruptions, and sustain them leaving a positive impact to gain the long-term operational and financial gains.
In order to recruit the staff, Sybrid MD helps organizations to find a skillful workforce to meet their organizational and operational needs. They also offer services to multiple healthcare organizations remotely and internationally to meet their billing and credentialing requirements through a professional team of experts.