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Mitigating the Physician Shortage
  • Jo Gardner
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The physician shortage is not new, nor is it surprising, but there are ways you can mitigate its impact on your facility.  You invested money and time in finding and training your physicians.  Healthcare facilities across the country are striving to protect their brand and their bottom line as they struggle to find ways to keep the physicians they have on staff.

Implement less human intensive technology care models

Making the most of talent already available means finding ways for them to do more in less time.  One of the popular technologies extending the reach of healthcare is telemedicine.  It may not be quite as touchy feely as in-person visits, but it still provides access to quality healthcare.  It also allows those not well enough to attend in person, the opportunity to get medical care.

By adopting these tools and permitting their increased use, the industry  could go a long way toward lessening the impact of worker shortages, he said.

Mitigating the Physician Shortage
Mitigating the Physician Shortage

Workplace Culture for improved retention

The stress and burnout has reached its own epic proportions in the physician shortage saga.  It is time to take greater steps to stem the growing wave of resignations and walkouts.  Some of the ways institutions have been making their culture employee centric, is to offer a flexible scheduling option.  While money is high on the list of deciding factors, lack of flexibility in scheduling is one of the biggest causes of job change.

Childcare subsidies is another way to show your employees your culture is a caring one.  Concern for children while working long hours is a distraction you can’t afford for your physicians to have.   How are the wellness support benefits for your staff?  During COVID-19 patient care, healthcare workers have been incredibly stressed over health concerns.  By helping them know it matters to your healthcare facility, you can help them decide to stay .

Give them a break.

Mid-day mental health breaks are another inexpensive way to remind your staff on a regular basis that their efforts matter.  While you’re at it, consider having HR take one too.  It is amazing what a short break mid-workday will do for your problem solving capability.

Recognize Achievements

One of the biggest problems found in the healthcare industry today is depression.  Acknowledging when a caregiver makes a difference can help reduce staff loss due to depression.  Recognition is a wonderful way to show your healthcare workers they matter.  One hospital created a Guardian Angel Program, where patients recognize their caregiver by giving a contribution in his or her honor.  The caregiver is notified of the honor and is given a special custom lapel pin to designate their status.  The hospital displays the care-giver’s image on the in-hospital video-screens throughout the facility along with an announcement of the award.  The proceeds help pay for new equipment, training, funding of current programs and more.

The single critical factor to each means of recognition and buildup of workplace culture is for the  policymakers to ensure whatever actions you implement become imbedded in the culture in your facility.

Strengthening the Pipeline

The healthcare industry is not educating enough doctors and nurses.  According to Fierce Healthcare, “tens of thousands of qualified nursing students were rejected last year due to shortage of clinical sites, faculty or other resources.” Until healthcare facilities can find a way to complete the training of those students, they are likely to lose a terrific opportunity to farm the cream of the crop for themselves.  Once hospitals were accommodating mid to late careerist.  Today millennials and Gen Z’s are inundating the workplace.  Go with it.  Think about how to attract those workers and then how to keep them invested in your brand.

These are not the only ways to retain your current employees.  But the continued caregiver and physician shortage coupled with minimum wage increases mean that your facility will need to find ways to show your healthcare workforce how important they are to you and your institution’s culture.  Creative thinking is critical and a personal touch in the recruitment process can bring the right match to your organization.  Contact us for more information on how we can help or call us at (925) 948-8749.

Author: Jo Gardner
I have a Bachelor of Science in Business and have five years of writing experience on business,recruiting, mortgages, foreclosure, and personal finances.

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