- Despite significant increases in healthcare employment rates this year, employers and providers are still facing many challenges when it comes to delivering high quality care, such as physician burnout and rising turnover rates.
A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that healthcare employment rose by 43,000 jobs in July, accounting for the third highest monthly total in 2016. The increase in job opportunities affected all but two healthcare-related sectors.
Ambulatory healthcare services topped the list with 19,000 new jobs in July, followed by hospitals (17,000 jobs) and residential care facilities (7,000 jobs).
Only medical diagnostic laboratories and residential mental health facilities saw modest decreases in healthcare employment, losing 300 and 200 jobs respectively.
The healthcare industry has seen an uptick in new job opportunities in 2016, even in May when the majority of industries in the country experienced a decrease in employment. In the last month alone, healthcare organizations added about 4,700 jobs.
The recent increases in job opportunities contributed to the significant expansion of the number of healthcare positions since last year. The industry added approximately 477,000 jobs in the past 12 months, and over half of the jobs were created in the first seven months of 2016.
Healthcare organizations developed more employment opportunities in the last year to ensure their facilities had enough providers to manage increasing patient volumes, according to Health eCareers healthcare snapshot for 2015.
With 9.9 million individuals enrolling in a marketplace healthcare insurance plan in September 2015, the increase in clientele has led many hospitals and physician practices to hire more providers.
By adding more providers to the team, many healthcare organizations aimed to distribute the workload evenly across more employees, especially since physician burnout rates increased in the past year.
The study reported that physician burnout rates rose in 2015, especially for providers specializing in critical care, urology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, OB/GYN, and neurology. More than half of the physicians who specialized in these areas reported at least one symptom of burnout.
The most common causes for physician burnout included an increase in bureaucratic tasks, spending too much time at work, income concerns, feeling like a “cog in a wheel,” maintaining certification requirements, and the computerization and automation of practice responsibilities.
While the addition of new jobs could prevent physician burnout, it may also contribute to healthcare employment issues for provider organizations. Since there are more job opportunities, clinicians have more flexibility to quit and move to another facility or use a potential job offer from another organization as a bargaining tool.
The increase in turnover rates can be disruptive for healthcare organizations. Higher staff turnover requires more frequent training and orientation sessions, may produce gaps in patient care, and could put stress on the hiring and human resources departments.
Additionally, the significant increase in healthcare employment has caused healthcare organizations to experience difficulties filling open positions in a timely manner, reported Health eCareers in July.
The addition of new jobs and the rising demand for providers contributed to a boost in confidence in the healthcare job market. Employees may start to look at other open positions and potential candidates have more job opportunities to consider.
Healthcare organizations should redesign recruiting and employment strategies to respond to the market trends, explained the report. Employers should invest in more retention and recruiting efforts to save time and money as well as fill open positions as quickly as possible.
The report advised healthcare organizations to consider the following:
• Create alerts in resume databases that notify the organization of candidates that match open positions
• Focus on branding to help the organization stand out from competing healthcare employers
• Update social media platforms and websites to accurately reflect the organization’s brand
• Regularly network with other healthcare professionals
• Recognize and reward existing employees to boost retention
While the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that the healthcare industry is thriving in terms of job growth and opportunity, the rise in available jobs may create more problems for healthcare organizations. In addition to providing quality and affordable care, hospitals and physician practices should also concentrate on appreciating their current staff and establishing connections with potential employees.