South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday May 18, 2021
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January 2014 - Volume 10 - Issue 7
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A New Era for the Healthcare Team

Over the years, much has been written about recruitment and retention in the healthcare industry. As it continues to evolve, traditional recruitment and retention strategies may not serve well either the industry or the patients it serves. A new way of thinking about the human capital of an organization is needed.
 
First, the work in healthcare is changing and we can expect that many more changes are coming. New delivery systems cross a continuum of care and are reimbursed in different ways. This requires the actual work clinicians do to be refocused to include wellness, and efficient processes must be put into place. Making the work more simple and keeping individuals at a better state of health must become key focus areas.
 
Next, healthcare professionals must be prepared for new roles in care delivery. Every professional’s role is changing in the new delivery model and flexibility to learn new skills and competencies is required. Thinking about care that is patient focused, meets quality outcome standards and is provided in an interdisciplinary way is essential.
 
That means creating a team framework centered around each individual patient’s care, with a team consisting of a professional nurse, an advanced practice provider such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, a pharmacist, a social worker, a case manager, a nutritionist, home care assistants and a physician.
 
Working in such an interdisciplinary environment requires great collaboration and communication as well as supportive systems such as information technology. This new environment and approach to care will create an entirely new environment that can enhance the work of professionals and lead to retention and work satisfaction.
 
Into the next ten years, the labor market for health professions is expected to tighten. Given an aging population and millions of individuals expecting access to care, health professions of all types will be in demand. Given that most of these jobs require demanding academic programs, it is necessary to begin thinking today about developing partnerships to ensure an adequate pipeline of talent is available.
 
Understanding the varied generations in the workforce and the unique ways that each approaches their work is something that organizations must not only understand, they must also construct programs in an entirely new way to reward, recognize and plan for those varied requirements. Younger generations anticipate having many careers and changing jobs more frequently to continue their growth.
 
Organizations cannot use decades-old retention methods in attempts to keep this generation, but rather, should incorporate generational turnover strategies as a positive and natural state, factoring that into workforce development plans. Many of the aging workers plan to stay employed after retirement from full-time work. Programs that can keep older workers in the environment can provide stability and a valued “brain trust” asset to the organization.
 
Finally, a key factor to all issues surrounding recruitment, work design and retention is leadership. Without effective leaders at each level of the organization, strategies to attract and retain an effective, balanced workforce are difficult if not impossible. Leaders set the stage for a positive workplace, create an environment of recognition and reward, and ensure that development resources are available to the teams. Leader shortages are also predicted and an organizational focus on succession planning for the key leadership team is also a priority.
 
Change in healthcare is a certainty. The organizations that successfully adapt their workforce development strategies will be better prepared to handle that change effectively.
Donna Herrin-Griffith, Senior Vice President/System Chief Patient Care, Nursing and Quality Officer with Martin Health System, can be reached at donna.griffith@martinhealth.org.
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