The staffing crisis is continuing to spiral. As the current workforce is starting to age out, the medical field is having a harder time bringing in new employees and retaining experienced professionals. Between the growing student debt crisis and the lack of proper wages and benefits, a lot of things need to change. Until the industry can find data-driven solutions to help encourage students and prevent burnout amid current employees, healthcare providers are having to make do and find whatever means they can to alleviate the stress on their current staff.
Luckily for clinics, practices, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, and other providers across the nation, two key components are helping the healthcare industry stay afloat and provide quality care while waiting for the changes necessary to fight the staffing crisis.
Component 1: nationwide healthcare staffing agencies
Specialised healthcare staffing agencies have been around for a while, helping qualified candidates seek their dream job, no matter their location. But now, they play a more critical role than ever. Between the staffing crisis and product supply issues, administrative staff are under more pressure than ever. By working with a healthcare staffing agency, healthcare providers are freeing up their administrative staff for other duties. Staffing agencies often handle vetting candidates to ensure they qualify for the job, and they also offer payroll and onboarding solutions for clinics.
By working with a healthcare staffing agency, providers gain access to a nationwide pool of qualified candidates for any position, and candidates have an easier time finding jobs in their preferred fields and states. Staffing agencies also include listings for remote positions, so specialists can help multiple clinics by offering telehealth appointments.
Job seekers and job providers can both benefit from these platforms. Some systems, like the Department of Veteran Affairs, list all of their openings through trusted staffing providers. Candidates can find the In-House recruitment page, click on the VA, and choose their preferred state – voila! Every listing is there for them to peruse.
Staffing agencies are bringing providers and candidates together as smoothly as possible, expanding the accessibility of employment and care.
Component 2: technology and innovation
The next critical aspect of keeping healthcare afloat is the influx of new healthcare technologies and practices that are helping to ease the burden on current providers. The pandemic revealed many weaknesses in the healthcare system, but innovation and technology have risen to help address some of the issues. Artificial intelligence can help monitor vitals and recognise patterns from symptoms and genetics to improvements in telehealth offerings. Therefore, the healthcare sector has seen massive improvements in all stages, from diagnostics to record-keeping.
While there is still work to be done, there is no denying that recent innovations have started making life easier for current practitioners and nurses. Better record-keeping and appointment programs are helping administrative staff stay up with clinic needs, while diagnostic AI saves time and testing for hard-to-pin-down cases. Better home health aids are helping more patients monitor their health (or providers monitor from afar), and telehealth is saving everyone time, effort, and money. It’s not a perfect fix to make up for the lack of manpower, but it can help ease the burden until the root causes of the staffing shortage are dealt with.
How to advocate for healthcare providers
When doctors and nurses suffer, so do patients. An overburdened healthcare industry is ripe with the potential for mistakes, which can have devastating consequences. A functioning healthcare industry is important for society as a whole, and everyone can help. If you’ve noticed your local clinic is keeping up with heavy demand, please show them appreciation. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way after a stressful day (and perhaps splurging on a treat tray can go even further!) You can also advocate for industry revolution with your local and state politicians or create a grassroots movement calling for change. If you have the means, consider sponsoring nursing students through grants or scholarships, or organise something with local companies to do so.
Our nurses, pharmacists, doctors, specialists, and other healthcare workers deserve better: better treatment, better pay, better working environments, etc. Together, we can help build a brighter, healthier future that benefits providers and patients alike.
Ellen Diamond , a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.