Health care is more than providing a hospital bed and room for patients; it is about the professionals looking after them. Healthcare professionals are on the front line of patient care and serve as the backbone of the entire healthcare system. As the world’s patient population continues to grow and age, the healthcare system struggles with recruiting and retaining qualified professionals to meet the increasing demand.
It is an apparent fact: without patient care professionals, patients can’t recover. However, recruiting the right and skilled professional is much more challenging than simply posting a vacancy ad. A healthcare organization and hospital's success relies on several factors, including operational management, leadership, and productivity management. When it comes to productivity and staff management, the process of recruitment plays a vital role. Hospitals and clinics have an influx of patients, and healthcare professionals are overworking to serve the patients while maintaining safety protocols. The hospital recruitment system has to keep up with the demand and procedures which can lead to burn out is not managed.
Maintaining appropriate recruitment is essential for ensuring a safe work environment and ensuring professional healthcare standards. Staffing shortage is a serious concern. According to the WHO’s Global Strategy on Human Resource for Health: Workforce report, the staffing shortage could increase to 9.9 million physicians, nurses, and midwives by 2030.
The challenges of the healthcare workforce
With the expansion of the healthcare sector, the hospitals and healthcare sector struggle with sourcing and retaining adequately skilled and qualified professionals. In addition to that, the existing hospitals and healthcare systems require a well-balanced set of skills for efficient operation. It means the recruitment of both medical and IT professionals to ensure successful operations.
With the baby boom generation retiring and aging, it is estimated that a total of 61.3 million baby boomers will reach the age of 65 in 2029. In general, the hospitals and healthcare systems could approach this developing problem in two directions: optimizing labor efficiency and maximizing labor retention.
- Labor efficiency optimization
- Retention and attraction of excellent talent
Healthcare executives have set goals to keep productivity in place while keeping in mind that the staff need support and the patient's care is critical. In the face of staffing shortage challenges, the hospitals and clinics must strive to achieve the utmost effective patient care without making sacrifices. The consequences of the typical productivity approach often create high levels of stress, leading to increased absenteeism, poorer patient outcomes, and decreased employee and patient satisfaction. The aim of efficiency optimization should be to utilize the staff’s skills effectively instead of overburdening them.
A decisive factor in efficiency optimization is streamlining of workflow and all processes. It benefits the hospital executives with improved managerial competency, appropriate investments, and reduced employee workload.
Since most of the data and information in hospitals exist in disparate systems, moving towards cloud technology can improve the workflow. There are numerous hospital tasks that require automation to improve efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. Standardizing the procedures and digitizing them through Information and Communication Technology infrastructure could systemize the care delivery and hospital administration. Incorporating technology that is easy to understand and simple-to-use reduces training costs, encourages staff rotation, and improves the care delivery chain. The need to replace traditional policies with flexible choices and programs is crucial to accommodate the preference of the medical workforce.
Well-strategized efficiency measures help in reducing work hours of already overburdened medical staff and contribute to employee encouragement.
The current turnover rate of nursing staff is 8.8 to 37%, and it includes factors of involuntary termination, excessive workload, and poor supervisor and colleague relationship. The best way to tackle this is to define the behavioral competencies, improve the interviewing process, and thorough behavioral assessment to select the right staff. Clarify the nature of work and expectations, improve schedule flexibility, and train managers to value the staff.
Among the healthcare professionals and nursing staff, workplace training serves as a great motivating factor. Continuous training not only improves patient care standards but rather it also increases work satisfaction. It helps prevent errors and saves the hospital from a potentially high-cost loss.
Strategize for both personal and professional development of the staff to increase the retention rate. The increased retention rate signifies the great reputation of the hospital, which in turn leads to the attraction of top-notch talent and skilled professionals. Good work-life balance, career prospects, growth opportunities, and better salary are some other factors that contribute to better reputation building.
Employing IT-friendly solutions and ensuring effective communion ensure efficient information sharing and informed decision-making. The crucial medical decision requires high-performing technologies to ensure effective diagnosis and treatment. Deployment of the right technologies helps in alleviating the work pressure and preventing the staff from potential burnout.
Some crucial insights on fixing the major problems of healthcare staff are:
- Flexible scheduling
- Candidate in pipeline
- Innovative technology
Cumbersome scheduling and manual recruitment accommodate very little flexibility.
Be future-focused in staff management and workforce planning to tackle the supply and demand of medical professionals.
In order to attract more tech-savvy workers, the hospitals need to speed up the adaptation and usage of technology.
The tenure of a medical professional is often scheduled in recruitment, but it leads to specialization in one area and limits cross-training. Additional skills and training for development and skill enhancement in other departments contribute to retention.
Above all, the major ethical responsibility is to make sure that staffing challenges do not compromise on the promise of patient care.