As we head into the final months of 2022, a number of serious healthcare staffing challenges continue to affect providers and facilities of all types and sizes. From dealing with burnout to preparing for monkey pox, here’s a rundown of the latest and most pressing challenges facing clinical employers today — and some steps that can be taken to resolve them.
Today’s Biggest Healthcare Challenges … and What to Do about Them
Challenge #1: Continuing Viral Threats
The United States may now be officially “out of the pandemic phase,” but Covid-19 is hardly through with us — a sentiment that’s obvious for anyone in the industry. As much as we’d like to move on, new variants of the virus continue to crop up. And although levels of hospitalization aren’t as high as they once were, more cases can mean more work for primary care and other front-line workers.
For some providers, this means more business. For those who have built out a successful telehealth structure and are seeking to expand its use among members, it may be an opportunity to nurture the concept of at-home care among patients — and seize the economic benefits that may go along with the new offerings.
For many other healthcare organizations, though, the prospect of yet another wave of Covid-19 infections is hardly welcome — to say nothing of monkey pox, or whatever may come along next. For those already at their limits for available staff, new waves of infected patients could mean cuts to other types of patient care, lapses in availability, or worse.
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Challenge #2: More Shortages of Nurses & Essential Workers
One of the most urgent healthcare staffing challenges of recent decades is the shortage of nurses and other workers. It’s also one thee most persistent, a trend that’s only been accelerated by the pandemic. Shortages have a serious impact on everyone involved — patients, payers, and of course, the providers themselves, whose lives get that much more difficult with fewer hands to share the work.
A HealthTech Magazine poll found that staffing shortages were the top concern about health executives, even surpassing cybersecurity. And it’s not only hospitals that are affected. According to HealthTech report, “the percentage of nursing facilities reporting a staff shortage has grown from 21 percent in May 2020 to 28 percent in March 2022.”
And according to a May 2022 Surgeon General’s Advisory, that trend is only going to get worse for many organizations. “With over half a million registered nurses anticipated to retire by the end of 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new registered nurses across the U.S.,” as the Surgeon General’s Advisory points out.
“Further, within the next five years, the country faces a projected national shortage of more than 3 million low-wage health workers.”
> Searching for a Solution? Partnering with a workforce solutions provider with a nationwide bench of available workers is a great way to offset local shortages, or to prepare your organization against potential shortages in the future. Learn more about the contingency staffing services and other workforce solutions available from CareerStaff.
Challenge #3: Burnout and Compassion Fatigue
A long-time threat to clinical workers, burnout and compassion fatigue are both primary drivers behind that ongoing worker shortage. They’re both regularly cited as reasons why nurses and other healthcare workers leave the profession or retire early, as the Advisory points out. And like all the others, the pandemic has only made this heightened the impact of this persistent healthcare staffing challenge.
Broadly defining it as a “state of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low sense of personal accomplishment at work,” the May 2022 Surgeon General’s Advisory highlights the connection between burnout and the worsening shortage of workers, declaring an “urgent need to address the health worker burnout crisis across the country.”
Pointing to numbers from 2019 showing that as many as 54% of nurses and doctors suffered from burnout, the Advisory also proposes meeting the challenge in a number of ways, including “listening to health workers” and seeking their involvement “to improve processes, workflows, and organizational culture.”
> Searching for a Solution? From promoting self-care programs to adopting a more sensitive approach to scheduling, here are 7 tips to help prevent nurse burnout and compassion fatigue from the CareerStaff experts.
Are You Ready to Face Today’s Most Pressing Healthcare Staffing Challenges?
If you’re looking for help bolstering your clinical workforce with access to essential workers or help streamlining outdated processes, you’ve come to the right place! Contact us here or request a consultation now to learn more about how CareerStaff Unlimited can help you meet today’s most pressing healthcare staffing challenges, and so much more.