Medical staffing shortages are becoming a common issue in many hospitals. Unlike an office or other type of business, medical staffing problems can mean serious problems. Surgeries may have to be cancelled or postponed. Patients can face longer wait times, or not receive as much consistent care. Because of this, it’s important that any medical or healthcare organization consider staffing patterns and causes for concern.
One of the most pressing issues facing medical staff today is the concern of burnout. This colorful name refers to the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by doing too much, for too long, and at far too fast a pace. People suffering from burnout haven’t had the time or means to care for their mental wellbeing and rest (both physically and mentally). High stress jobs like medicine are prime for burnout, since it can be very difficult for medical staff to not take their work home with them. Concern for patients, difficult cases, or loss of patients are contribute to medical staff not being able to “turn off” even when they’re off the clock. That, combined with increasingly long hours, makes burnout a very real concern for healthcare organizations.
To avoid burnout, avoid micromanaging staff and provide solid guidance and support from the top down. Let your staff know that they can take a load off and things won’t collapse.
Primary care physician shortages
The medical industry is shifting to provide more outpatient services and patient-centered medical homes. We are only now starting to truly understand how important it is for patients to be in their homes, as opposed to in conventional healthcare settings.
This means that more hospitals need to add primary care physicians to their medical staff. However, the ongoing shortage of primary care physicians as well as the shortage of physicians specializing in emergency medicine is a cause for concern. To prevent this, many hospitals are filling the gaps by buying physicians practices, employing full-time physicians, and hiring more mid-level professionals, such as nurse practitioners.
Nurses are considered one of the most underappreciated members of the healthcare industry. A recent survey done in Britain showed that up to 60% of the polled adults saw nurses as being deeply underappreciated. This means that nurses are more likely to suffer burnout and depression than many of their other counterparts. They are also grossly overworked due to an ongoing nursing shortage. To avoid overworking your nurses and allowing them proper work/life balance, hire a healthcare staffing agency like 360 Healthcare Staffing that will help provide interim nurses and staff.
Lack of physician leadership
As hospitals and healthcare organizations diversify into new care models, they are in need of more physicians in leadership roles. Unfortunately, the market for physicians in leadership roles is extremely competitive and turns many physicians off.
To find physician leadership, healthcare organizations should turn to their own talent pool to find and groom physicians towards leadership roles.
Lack of creativity in reducing staffing needs
Staffing shortages in other areas of the healthcare industry often result from a lack of creativity on the part of the organization for reducing those staffing needs. Technology like self-service registration kiosks, voice recognition equipment, and remote monitoring equipment can help take the place of some employees and help the organization use their skills elsewhere.