It’s no secret that the last few years have reshaped the business landscape, but one of the industries most affected was the healthcare field. Healthcare staffing shortages were already a concern prior to the pandemic, but by the end of 2022, those shortages had reached an alarming level. If you’re a healthcare facility, PandoLogic has put together some research and ideas to help you.
What is Causing Staffing Shortages in Healthcare?
There are many reasons for these shortages. Some will be obvious, but some may surprise you.
At the top of the list is age. Quite simply, people are living longer, and as they age, they experience more severe medical problems that need to be addressed. This puts a strain on a medical system already stretched thin, and with many medical professionals of retirement age, we are seeing more patients with fewer people to care for them.
Another reason for hospital staffing shortages is burnout. The pandemic was exhausting, both physically and mentally. Long hours, lower pay than what they deserve, and less-than-ideal schedules can make even the best healthcare professional consider leaving their job. Add in the emotional scenes they witnessed due to COVID, and it’s a real recipe for a level of burnout we haven’t seen before.
During the pandemic, healthcare staffing shortages worsened when medical staff contracted the virus or had to stay home to care for family members who were ill. Many spouses, partners, and parents faced job loss and subsequent changes that forced someone in the household to step into the role of childcare provider or caregiver.
Finally, there are fewer students in school to be nurses due to a lack of capacity, largely because professorial pay is not attractive and that results in less teaching staff.
Which Healthcare Professionals Had the Biggest Shortage in 2022?
Where it is expected to continue to see the biggest healthcare staff shortages is within the primary care or family physician field. More doctors are choosing specialties that have higher salaries or better schedules than those you may meet in an urgent care or emergency room. Nurses are next on the list, especially considering how immigration law impacts the hiring of qualified candidates with nursing degrees.
How Have Healthcare Staffing Shortages Impacted the Healthcare System in the U.S.?
When hospital staff shortages exist, patients see a longer wait time. Mistakes in treatment can be a concern due to exhausted and overworked staff, and some healthcare professionals will end up leaving their jobs due to a lack of resolution. This perpetuates the cycle and leaves patients without timely and proper care and will occur in all levels of medical facilities, including nursing home staffing shortages.
Will Staffing Shortages Continue to Impact Healthcare Facilities in 2023?
There are quite a few temporary fixes to this situation, but until more permanent solutions are found, staffing shortages won’t be going away any time soon.
Hospital Staffing Shortages
Unfortunately, no one in the medical field is immune from the situations causing shortages, but hospitals see more loss and emotionally fraught crises. This results in higher staff turnover and less availability of qualified workers willing to step in. It is predicted there will also be fewer doctors completing medical school during the next ten years, according to the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).
Nursing Home Staffing Shortages
As baby boomers age and end up in nursing homes, presenting with both acute and chronic medical conditions, their care requirements will get more intensive. The necessity for highly skilled and reliable nurses, doctors, and adjacent staff will compound.
It’s important to note that there are many more critical jobs in the healthcare industry beyond nurses and doctors. Educators, midwives, laboratory and X-Ray/MRI technicians, respiratory therapists, and the list goes on for careers that have been impacted. Without them, patients may end up with a diagnosis that can’t be treated quickly enough, because doctors and nurses are only one part of the care team.
What Can Be Done to Help Fix Healthcare Staffing Issues?
While our first thought may go towards increasing the number of medical staff available, encouraging preventative measures to the public can go a long way in decreasing the need for healthcare in the first place.
We can rally for an educational system that not only takes into consideration the needs of its students but the affordability and access to that education. We learned during the pandemic that education doesn’t need to take place solely within four walls but can be successful with the use of technology.
Along those same lines, telehealth has been proven to be a critical piece of the puzzle, allowing patients to remain safely at home, not exposing anyone to their illness while giving them access to the means and medication to treat that illness or an injury.
Higher salaries and reasonable schedules can attract more people into the field, along with safety measures to ensure healthcare workers are protected as well as respected.
Nurses often operate under the supervision of physicians, but if nurse practitioners had more authority commensurate with their additional education, they could help handle the higher patient count. Maybe most important – we need to listen to the needs and concerns of our healthcare workers. We cannot let their care go ignored and expect them to care for others while also dealing with their own personal and professional concerns.
How Can AI in Healthcare Recruitment Help with Staffing Issues?
The use of AI is increasing daily in all industries, and it continues to show its value in the healthcare field. It can be used to avoid more errors if used in patient call centers, but when adopted to help recruit new employees, its timesaving benefits alone are beneficial. It can help hospitals and medical centers find better, more qualified candidates for each particular empty role, while sourcing even more prospective employees, all in a shorter period of time.
Healthcare staffing shortages are a growing concern but can be mitigated with a good strategy, consistent application of policy, and always listening to your team. Let PandoLogic help you find the best people for your open positions with AI-enabled candidate sourcing. Our recruitment software is the future of hiring, and we’re here in this challenging time to improve recruitment efficiency, now and going forward.
If you’re interested in learning more, reach out so we can set up a demo. We can help you lessen the burden on the healthcare system by automating and streamlining your hiring process. Let us help you rebuild your healthcare team.