Thinly-stretched staff is cause of concern for health care workers

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Due to the ever-present need for health care, the industry has been one of the few sectors over the past three years in which job security and employment opportunities have been consistently available. But this high demand for health care services creates its own set of challenges for both workers and employers in the industry.

According to a new CareerBuilder study on the top concerns of both health care workers and employers, the following are the sector’s most commonly cited challenges:

1. Advancement opportunity

Fifty-one percent of the health care workers surveyed said that a lack of advancement opportunity was the top challenge they faced in their current job, likely due to the prioritizing of patient care over career development among both health care employees and their institutions.

According to the survey, “Nearly six-in-ten (57 percent) health care workers said that the health care professional-per-patient ratio is getting worse, allowing less time for professional development and career advancement and requiring more time on day-to-day duties.”

2. Quality of care

A thinly stretched staff creates more than one conflict. With the demand for health care outpacing hiring trends, health care workers are also concerned about their ability to provide quality care to patients. Forty percent of health care workers said that work overload was the biggest challenge they faced in their career.

Among registered nurses — the segment of the workforce that is hardest to recruit and retain — the largest concern (49 percent) was not having enough staff to properly care for patients.

3. Employee retention

According to an analysis of CareerBuilder data, registered nurses are less likely to stay with one employer for a long period of time than workers in other industries. Nurses have a median tenure of 1.4 years, much lower than the average of 4.4 years that wage and salary workers reported with their current employer.

Nurses working in the offices of physicians had the lowest turnover rates, averaging 1.57 years at each job, while nursing care facilities had the highest turnover at .97 years. Such high turnover rate can prove costly for employers, who must regularly recruit and train new employees.

4. Taking advantage of benefits

Sixty-eight percent of employers indicated that they offered in-house training and skills development programs, yet only 57 percent of health care employees reported that their organizations had these type of programs.  According to the survey, “This disconnect illustrates that while health care organizations may be offering valuable perks, these programs are not messaged effectively to employees as many are not aware that the programs exist.” Another explanation? Busy employees who don’t have the time to familiarize themselves with company training programs.

Do you work in health care? What challenges do you face? Let us know in the comments section, below.

  1. This response will probably not win a job, but during the intereview when you realize there is no chance to get the job, at least you might feel better.
    I was in a group interview with 6 elected officials for a job I was clearly very well qualified for. I could tell by the few questions asked and then when I got to ask some questions about the organization, I received only monosyllable answers, this was just a courtesy interview. Then the chairman said, “Mr. Carter, we feel you are just to overqualified for this job.” [Wouldn't you want the best qualified person for the job?] I thought for a few seconds and replied, “Mr Chairman, if you will just give me the job, I’ll try to act as stupid as the rest of the people working here.” Needless to say the interiew was over. But driving 90 miles back home, I at least felt better. Cecil

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