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At Apploi’s recent Customer Advisory Board Roundtable, panelists discussed the present state of healthcare staffing, the growing role of technology, the nursing shortage, and what it will take for the industry to thrive. Our conversation touched more topics than we can cover here, but we’ve reviewed some key points for our friends who couldn’t make the event.

1. COVID-19 didn’t change the path of technology in healthcare—it just accelerated it

COVID-19 has changed the way many of us work and live, but our panelists agreed that healthcare was on its way to a digital transformation regardless of the pandemic. Many healthcare organizations were already in the process of introducing more telehealth services and virtual patient relationships.

When the pandemic made virtual care a necessity, organizations had to scramble to put these plans into action faster. The sudden demands of the pandemic revealed just how badly healthcare needs new technology, and the accelerated timeline highlighted other important issues, like making sure organizations can get insurance reimbursements for telehealth services.

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2. Turnover isn’t the root of healthcare’s problems

Employee turnover is a big topic in healthcare staffing, but it’s not the unique issue we often imagine it to be, according to our panelists. In fact, healthcare has experienced COVID-era turnover at rates comparable to many industries, and lower than some. 

Among the healthcare workers who do voluntarily quit, many are leaving the industry entirely. It’s misguided, therefore, to focus on recruiting employees from other healthcare facilities. Instead, recruiters need to focus on bringing more people into healthcare at large. That means going beyond your usual candidate sources to attract people who are currently working in different industries. 

3. Healthcare employers need to be flexible enough to meet workers where they are 

As the candidate shortage grows more and more pressing, employers will need to make accommodations to attract and keep talent. This may involve making concessions and granting benefits that workers have been requesting for a long time, like shorter shifts. 

Although many healthcare workers are motivated by passion before anything else, recruiters are sometimes required to compete for candidates against employers like Amazon. Non-healthcare employers may offer pay at higher rates than healthcare organizations can, and often have fewer barriers to entry. Healthcare managers should consider what makes these employers appealing and use this information to stay competitive in recruiting. 

4. Equity issues will determine healthcare’s success in the pandemic era and beyond 

Whether we were talking about supporting workers or patients, our panelists agreed: equity is essential to healthcare’s progress. To rebuild healthcare staffing, organizations will need to tailor their recruiting and retention strategies to answer the specific needs of women and racially and ethnically diverse workers, who have been more greatly affected by the pandemic than their counterparts. 

Likewise, emerging healthcare technologies can only succeed if patients can reach them. Telehealth services can’t be rolled out on a large scale until all patients have access to high-speed broadband wifi. Currently, many rural Americans don’t—and not everyone has the physical and cognitive ability to navigate mobile devices. To make healthcare equitable in the digital age, we need mobile interfaces that are usable for anyone.  

5. The future of healthcare is all about helping nurses regain their joy

Nurses enter the healthcare industry for a reason, and more often than not, that reason is a real passion for their work. Nurses leave healthcare, our panelists argued, because they’ve been exhausted and overworked to the point of having that passion doused. To fight the nursing shortage, healthcare needs to help nurses find their sense of joy again. 

To do this, it’s critical to support a healthy work-life balance for your employees. Step away from cookie-cutter benefits, and use that budget to address the specific issues preventing workers from living balanced lives. Pleasure in work, and a commitment to the workplace, will follow. 

Looking Forward

It was an honor to be joined by industry leaders with such a wealth of knowledge and perspectives. We’d like to thank all our panelists and presenters for sharing their invaluable experience, observations, concerns, and passion for evolving solutions. 

There’s no doubt that we learn more from each other than we can alone. Our panelists brought much-needed depth to the conversation about accelerating healthcare technology, the overemphasis on nursing turnover, and the importance of helping workers live balanced and joyful lives. We grow alongside our community every day, but something special happens when we address the issues facing our industry together. We’re excited to continue the conversation with many more events to come, and we hope to see new friends and old joining the discussion as we move forward.

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end solution.