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It is no surprise that the recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry were hit significantly hard by COVID-19. In 2021, the MGMA stat poll discovered that around 73% of medical recruiters find staffing a significant challenge during the pandemic. Other recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry included uncertainty and cost/revenue at 15% and 10%, respectively.

In 2022, tribepad reports that WHO predicts a shortfall of 14.5 million healthcare workers worldwide by 2030. Furthermore, healthcare talent retention has been pointed to be growing exponentially. Hence, for an industry notorious for its high turnover rates, such reports can add to the organization’s dilemma.

The Upcoming Physician Shortage in the U.S. Healthcare Industry

Furthermore, the latest report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) found that the recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry will increase multifold due to the physician shortage. The physician shortage is estimated to go from 37,000 to 124,000 by 2034 and will include all medical specialties, like primary care.

According to AAMC, the recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry persists due to the current USA demographics and the maturing baby boomer percentage population. The talent shortage is not only adding to the country’s healthcare budget but also taking away a good chunk of its workforce.

In 2020, a report by Nursing Solution Inc on healthcare retention and staffing illustrated harrowing hospital turnover rates. The survey was conducted in 3,000 healthcare facilities discovering that an average establishment witnessed a workforce turnover of 89% between 2015 and 2019. On a national level, hospital turnover stood at 17.8%.

However, the question arises why is the workforce quitting?

Reasons for the Great Healthcare Turnover

While COVID-19 has had a rabid impact on employee turnover, an organization’s tussle with talent retention has been brewing for ages. According to a statistical report, voluntary terminations within the healthcare sector stood at 90.9%. The revelation prompted the group to scope out the cause of so many healthcare quits. The study came up with a couple of findings that emerged as the primary reason for the massive employee churn-out:

  • The desire for better career growth.
  • Need for better financial and non-financial compensation.
  • Poor relationships with supervisors and managers.
  • Imbalance in the workload and staffing scale.
  • Retirement.

A high staff turnover rate indicates that the current personnel is working overtime and compensating for the lack of resources. Consequently, the unprecedented changes to duty schedules are stressing healthcare professionals out. Hence, for the entire industry, the never-ending dysfunctional cyclical effect tarnishes patient care and increases recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry.

Furthermore, depression and fatigue are recurring mental health issues that further trigger the physician turnover rate and the subsequent recruitment challenge in the healthcare industry. In 2018, Medscape surveyed more than 15,000 physicians from 29 healthcare specialties. Around 42% blamed work burnout, while 15% pointed to colloquial or clinical depression.

The Effect of Massive Workforce Turnover on the Industry

The massive workforce turnover has contributed the most to the ongoing recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry. When personnel works overtime to compensate for the lack of resources, they have little to no time to consider their basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, and socializing, leading to exhaustion and burnout. As a result, the professionals see a drop in their productivity, which poses the possibility of fatal mistakes, and boosts employee resignation. In the Kronos report, around 11% of the professionals confessed to making clinical errors brought on by fatigue.

Additionally, staff turnover costs the healthcare facility astounding volumes of money. Referencing back to the NSI survey, a bedside nurse turnover costs an average of $44,000, generally ranging between $33,000 and $56,000. Worse yet, replacing doctors can prove to be far more expensive costing anywhere between $500,000 to $ 1 million. These rates are usually an accumulation of separation costs, screening and hiring new members, and temporary coverage costs. On top of that, the decrease in the quality of patient care will result in further costs to the healthcare facility.

What role is COVID-19 playing in all this?

The role of Covid’19 in Healthcare Workforce Turnover

COVID-19 has had a multi-fold effect on efficiency, advancement, and recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry. According to an MGMA toll taken among the healthcare leaders who took an unexpected retirement, around 45% percent said it was because of the pandemic. 4% of those doctors stated that they retired after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and 41% confessed that they experienced pandemic-related burnout and health risks.

The average turnover rate might be reaching its boiling point!

While a certain percentage of turnover is natural in any industry, COVID-19 has further amplified sensitivity to isolation along with the feeling of being unappreciated and disengaged that existed before the pandemic hit.

The strain of COVID-19, coupled with the burnout challenges, were long fermenting beneath the surface and have worn out the industry enough. The duo has manifested various recruitment challenges in the healthcare industry.

While healthcare institutions are scrambling to return to normalcy, the individuals of America are now seeing their work in a completely different light. With the benefits of working from home coming at the forefront, the humiliation of being pushed out of a job still stinging, and the closure of numerous schools and care facilities – industries are finding it hard to get the country’s workforce to trust them again.

The healthcare industry finds itself in the same situation. However, it is crucial to note that such a drawback in this sector might echo far and wide and loud within America’s heavily healthcare-dependent population. It is not about the profit margins anymore; it is about patient care.

So, is there a way out of the murky waters?

How to Overcome Recruitment Challenges that Plague the Healthcare Industry?

Marrying retention and recruitment

Organizations will need to take better, sizeable steps to retain their employees and stem the possibility of resignations. With all the burnout and stress left behind by the tidal waves of COVID-19, the inability to streamline processes is corroding the workforce. Hence, employees are now looking for better work benefits combined with wellness support. The approach could be smoother scheduling, upper management recognition, and other subsidies such as childcare.

While there is no single solution, employers will have to start somewhere. Recruiters can get in tune with the employee’s needs and make consistent steps to ensure their execution can go a long way. Furthermore, healthcare facilities will also have to change their perception of employee needs. Now that the baby boomer of the workforce is inching toward retirement, it is Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z that the organizations will have to step in.

The entire process of getting selected for a job is grueling. One major issue many healthcare job seekers have is finding the right recruiting platform. Medical industry jobs are dispersed throughout various recruitment portals. The problem arises when job seekers can funnel their job search down to positions that match their skillset.

Hence, by leveraging robust medical recruitment strategies, healthcare recruiters can simplify talent search for themselves and their candidates.

Professional platforms like HealthCareTalentLink (HCTL) are working to bridge this gap to simplify the opportunity hunt for healthcare professionals and recruiters. The platform allows users to leverage a comprehensive filter system to narrow their job search and get acquainted with opportunities perfect for their skillset.

HealthCareTalentLink (HCTL) is set to become a prominent tool within the healthcare industry. The platform will help recruiters and job seekers reduce hiring costs and time. The application also offers video interview facilities to help save up on traveling expenses. On top of that, you can also benefit from a plethora of professionally delivered and accumulated educational materials that could help with your next job interview.

The Bottom Line

While it is true that COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on the already crumbling healthcare staffing capacity, there are ways the industry recruiters can redeem themselves. Working on long-term employee retention policies and simplifying the job search process can work wonders for the incoming horde of new healthcare candidates.

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