The healthcare industry has always had to operate under a certain amount of pressure. This is especially true for Healthcare administrators struggling to balance both operations and internal staff. There are incredible levels of stress you simply wouldn’t  find in other professions and its very likely that pressure will only go up.

So, what is the role of the human resources department? What is the role of an administrator or office manager? 

Human resources in healthcare will also feel the pressure, this is true for smaller clinics and larger hospitals.  These professionals face issues like staffing shortages, employee burnout, and more. It’s essential that HR must better understand the how and why behind each one in order to overcome such hurdles. Such hurdles can include staff shortages, turnover rates, employment burnout, training, and development. 

  • Staff Shortages: In Healthcare, one of the most imminent issues involves recruiting. Simply put, there’s just not enough supply to meet the growing demand. Baby boomers are aging creating a considerable workload for medical professionals.Alternatively healthcare professionals from that generation are beginning to retire and leave the workforce . This shortage has left employers desperate to differentiate themselves and attract prospective employees. The shortage in healthcare also includes the internal administrative staff. Time and time again employees who may be cross trained, or worked in a position at some point in their career are expected to wear multiple hats. So many times we hear of someone hired as a CNA, LVN, or even manager having to step in to run the front desk, run authorizations, or handle billing. Many younger people in the workforce are looking for more competitive rates and want to work in a job they’re hired for. There has been some movement within the industry to appeal to this workforce but if these issues are not dealt with employee burnout is inevitable as will turnover. 
  • Turnover Rates: As mentioned, the struggle to keep on current staff can easily be a huge problem. Due to the high demand, employees could simply go elsewhere if they feel that they’re not valued, or considered. The  average hospital has turned over 87.8% of its entire workforce. And the numbers suggest that things may only get worse. 2018 alone was the worst turnover rate the industry has seen in over a decade.More times than not, people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers.  Leadership and good management is essential when it comes to retention and overall recruitment. 
  • Employment Burnout: Burnout is the cause of turnover and staffing shortages.  When employees are burnt out it has a negative impact on both patient care and patient safety. Their ability to work at their highest capacity is in jeopardy when they are overworked, and mentally and physically exhausted. Burnout could unintentionally create a disconnect between providers and patients, with providers developing unfriendly, cynical, and less empathetic attitudes. This disconnect makes them less sympathetic to the needs of patients and leaves everyone involved unhappy about the experience.  HR in healthcare can alleviate some of the burnout with reward and recognition strategies as well as training programs to increase job satisfaction among employees.
  • Training and Development: Providing employee engagement through training and development can do wonders for those wanting to learn new skills and advance at work. Training and development is a key factor in preventing burnout and turnover. This falls on the shoulders of management and HR professionals. Finding a way to handle staffing shortages, while attempting to maintain retention can be challenging but its a necessity that needs to be figured out. Although this could be expensive, administrators need to consider how much more it’ll cost to hire and train, for them to leave, and have to do it all over again. Support from management to motivate adoption among  employees can go a long way.

Healthcare can be difficult and stressful, but it also is so rewarding. Those tasked with managing and supporting healthcare professionals need to be partners with practitioners in improving employee engagement, job satisfaction, and in turn, the quality of patient care.  Through proper implementation, and a desire to do better,  they can help employees become more effective—and more satisfied—in their work.