Health Care Staff Shortages Could Effect You Soon

The impact of Chronic Care Conditions, COVID-19, Mental Health, Taxing Schedules, and more have led to a Public Health Crisis that began even before COVID started and has deteriorated since then.

The issue of staff shortages has become one of the hottest topics for Public Health professionals, hospitals, and Medical Clinics. The problem is complex and has greatly impacted the health care industry.  Fewer and fewer doctors are choosing to become Family Practice Providers. They will often choose a specialty that is more specific such as gastroenterology, Cardiology, or others.  Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are attempting to make up the difference. This is both a good and bad thing. Both PAs and NP are great at what they do and can curb some of the upcoming problems.

What does it mean for you?

1.) Availability of Services

Whenever there is a discussion about staff shortages, it brings up the fact that you will have to wait longer to see your provider, get scheduled for procedures, and even your wait time at the Emergency Room may be impacted. Clinics are closing all the time and your doctor or medical provider may have to move clinics or close entirely because of the headaches surrounding these problems.

2.) Aging Population

When this topic is approached in medicine, it means that the patients are growing older and older. This requires more services and treatment for these patients. But this also has a profound effect on the workforce. More and more experienced providers are retiring and not being replaced.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly 17% of the population is 65 years or older as of 2021. This number (percentage) is anticipated to increase over the next twenty years. More care will be required in Nursing homes and hospitals and fewer providers and nurses will be available.

The number of Chronic Care illnesses will increase. This will impact healthcare drastically.

3.) Burnout

You know that if you are being asked to do more at your job, this can lead to burnout. This cycle is seen in healthcare but often more dramatically. The onslaught of problems, patient care issues, staff shortages caused hundreds of healthcare workers to leave their jobs during and after the COVID pandemic. The number of illnesses did not increase. The responsibility fell onto those already working in the hospitals, clinics, and more. Burnout is the next phase of problems that will be seen in the healthcare industry.

4.)  Infrastructure

Over the next ten years, the lack of Nursing Homes, Rehab centers, Mental Health facilities, Drug Rehab programs, and more will come to a critical level. Specialized care that is best given in specific facilities will find out that they don’t have enough buildings or bed space for the needs that will arise. Even back in 2019 there were thousands of elderly applicants who were denied care/homes because there just wasn’t enough space available.

5.)  Teaching

In healthcare, to become knowledgeable about medicine, you must learn from the best. There will be more nurses and providers trying to learn from fewer mentors. This will greatly effect their learning ability. Nearly 100,000 nursing applicants were turned away in 2020 due to lack of teaching space. Faculty are often underpaid and the increasing demands are difficult to solve. PA and NP programs are trying to train as many as possible to offset the shortage of Doctors, but this can lead to additional problems in some states. Finding faculty has been nearly impossible because some of the standards for training.

Possible Future Strategies

1.)  Increasing pay for Healthcare workers in Underserved Areas

2.)  Load repayment for Healthcare workers who commit to working in an area

3.) Hiring workers from other countries and have a mentoring program to assist in training

4.) Customize Recruitment

5.)  Prioritize Infrastructure changes

6.)  Better scheduling

7.)  Improve Job satisfaction

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