The healthcare industry is one of the most vital industries in the world; without it, quality of life around the globe would diminish dramatically. With the demand for healthcare services constantly increasing, it is important for healthcare providers to maintain a stable workforce to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. However, many healthcare facilities face workforce shortages and struggle to retain the employees they have, which significantly impacts patient care and increases financial costs for everyone.
Acquiring and then maintaining a stable workforce is of vital importance for the healthcare industry as a whole and for the populations they serve. The stopgap measures usually taken to supplement a local facility’s workforce are often extremely expensive which not only results in higher operating costs for the facility, but also in higher costs for patients. This is why developing strategies to retain employees is so important.
One of the most important reasons to maintain a stable workforce in the healthcare industry is the impact on patient care. Patients rely on healthcare providers to provide high-quality care and support, and the continuity of care provided by a stable workforce can make a significant difference. When healthcare providers leave or are replaced frequently, patients may not receive the same level of care, leading to negative health outcomes. For example, patients may need to repeat their medical history to new healthcare providers, leading to errors and omissions. There’s also the fact that new employees may not be as experienced in certain protocols, which could put patients’ health at risk. Continuity of care is essential in the healthcare industry, and it is important to maintain a stable workforce to provide it.
Another significant impact of high staff turnover in healthcare facilities is the cost of hiring traveling nurses and other medical professionals. Especially after COVID-19 rocked the world, healthcare facilities often hire traveling nurses to fill gaps in their workforce, leading to higher labor costs. These traveling nurses are often paid significantly more than full-time employees, leading to increased expenses for healthcare providers. Additionally, traveling nurses may not be familiar with the specific policies and procedures of the facility, leading to errors and inefficiencies. To make matters worse, full-time employees often know that traveling workers make significantly more, leading to dissatisfaction with their own pay and could even encourage them to leave the workforce. Maintaining a stable workforce can reduce the need for traveling nurses, reducing costs and improving patient care.
In addition to the cost of hiring traveling nurses, the high cost of constantly training new employees is another challenge facing healthcare facilities. Training new employees is time-consuming and expensive, and it can take several months for new employees to become fully competent in their roles. But if employees often leave their roles after just a year, this becomes an unending cycle of hiring, training, and starting over again just as training is complete. As a result, the cost of training new employees can add up quickly, leading to higher labor costs for healthcare providers. Moreover, new employees may not have the same level of experience and knowledge as existing employees, which can result in more errors and inefficiencies. Maintaining a stable workforce can reduce the need for constant training, reducing costs, and improving patient outcomes.
One of the most effective ways to prevent staff turnover in healthcare facilities is to provide a supportive and positive work environment. Healthcare providers can offer competitive salaries, flexible schedules, and opportunities for career development to help retain employees. Beware of offering token demonstrations of value that minimize nurses; one editorial reports a nurse’s frank comments: “Forget the free pizza and popcorn. I am not a child to be placated with snacks. Give me enough talent to work with and compensation that reflects my risk-taking, education, and skills. I’ll buy my own xxx-xxxx pizza.” Offering benefits such as good healthcare coverage, retirement plans, assistance with childcare, and paid time off will also help attract and retain employees. Additionally, healthcare providers can offer training and continuing education opportunities to help employees develop new skills and advance their careers, giving them more long-term satisfaction in their current positions.
Another way to prevent staff turnover in healthcare facilities is to provide opportunities for employee feedback and engagement. Healthcare providers can conduct regular employee surveys to understand employee satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, healthcare providers can provide opportunities for employees to contribute to the development of policies and procedures, which can increase employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Finally, healthcare providers can create a culture of respect and collaboration to prevent staff turnover. This includes fostering a positive work environment, promoting teamwork, and recognizing the contributions of employees. Healthcare facilities can also provide opportunities for employees to collaborate and share best practices, which can lead to improved patient outcomes and increased contentment with their careers.
Maintaining a stable workforce in the healthcare industry is essential for providing high-quality patient care and reducing costs. High staff turnover can lead to increased expenses, reduced continuity of care, and decreased patient satisfaction. Healthcare providers can prevent staff turnover by providing a supportive work environment, opportunities for feedback and engagement, and a culture of respect and collaboration.