What the Healthcare Employee Shortage Means for Hiring in the Medical Field

The Covid-19 pandemic is not over. That much has been made clear by the arrival of new variants, the rising number of breakthrough cases for patients who have already been vaccinated, and the significant portions of the United States population that remain unvaccinated. Unfortunately, the longer the pandemic stretches on, the more it puts the entire U.S. healthcare ecosystem in jeopardy. It’s a situation that has put healthcare employers in a difficult situation – and one that could reshape the way that hospitals recruit, hire, and approach employee background screening.

Already, there are parts of the country where Covid outbreaks have left hospitals overwhelmed and unable to offer all their usual services. That problem could worsen in the years to come, in part because of staffing. For years, there has been an employee shortage in some parts of the medical industry – particularly nursing. With no end date in sight for the pandemic, though, existing healthcare workers are increasingly complaining of burnout, exhaustion, and disillusionment with their jobs. According to a survey conducted jointly by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 62 percent of frontline health workers say that Covid-related stressors negatively impact their mental health. Thirty percent say they have considered leaving the healthcare field entirely due to the ongoing pandemic.

Those numbers are troubling, especially in the context of how dire healthcare employee shortages were already projected to be over the next ten years. According to Healthline, for instance, the U.S. will need over one million new nurses by 2030 “to meet healthcare demands.” The aging of the Baby Boomer generation, in particular, is likely to cause unprecedented spikes in demand for healthcare services, which will in turn demand that the healthcare industry grow its workforce. A pandemic that has people leaving the field could spell problems for that future – even though Covid-19 also caused a spike in enrollment at nursing schools.

What does all of this industry-wide uncertainty mean for healthcare employers? Similar to the current staffing shortages in many industries, hospitals must compete for a limited number of workers. That may mean healthcare providers need to offer higher salaries as part of their recruitment strategies or even sign-on bonuses. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, one health system in Rapid City, South Dakota, is offering $40,000 sign-on bonuses to experienced surgical or ICU nurses that are willing to sign a two-year contract.

The changes will affect more of the hiring process than just the money side of things. Hospitals may also take a closer look at their healthcare background checks with hopes of speeding up their hiring. With competition for workers so fierce, employers can’t afford lengthy hiring processes that might lose them the chance to hire a well-qualified worker. At the same time, employee background screening steps are vitally important in any industry, especially in healthcare. Criminal background checks, license verifications, identity verification checks, reference checks, and verifications of education and past employment are all crucial steps to protect against risks of malpractice, negligence, or bad hires.

At backgroundchecks.com, we are here to help hospitals and other healthcare employers. We can assist you if your organization is looking to revamp and streamline its employee background screening process without losing nuance or protection. We are experienced in providing healthcare background checks for various employers in the medical space. Contact us today to learn more.

Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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