Workforce Shortages in Health Care
The paper seeks to
discuss the challenge of workforce shortage in the healthcare sector. It demonstrates
how the shortages of the workforce affect the heath care services, including
training and treatment of the patients. In the U.S, there is close to 13 per cent population growth
rate compared to the 7 % growth rate in the health care professionals. This
indicates the need to train and employ more health workers to cater for the
rising demand for health care. It will evaluate both the short term and
long-term measures that can be used to develop relevant health reforms by
involving employment of more health care professionals. Therefore, the paper
will investigate how workforce shortages affect the healthcare industry.
Workforce Shortages in Health Care
A major challenge facing the health care industry is the shortage of health care professionals. The reasons for such shortages are the increased demand for their services, decreasing health care training attractiveness, and low supply of such professionals from training institutions. As a result of growing populations, the growth in patient population poses threats in the number of trained medical personnel to attend satisfactorily to the treatment of these individuals (Linda, & Berenson, 2011). For example, the United States census reports that its population growth is 13 percent as compared to the health care professional growth of 7 percent.
The increased demand has been attributed to growing cases of chronic diseases due to new lifestyle. This has constrained the health care industry. Consequently, low supply of health care personnel can be attributed to high training expenses involved and declining compensation for such professional in relation to their other professionals. For instance, the United States has experienced a decline of 20 percent of health physicians between 1950 and 2007 (Toni, 2005).
Both short term and long-term measures can be employed in providing a solution to health care shortages. Short-term solutions include providing better compensation schemes to medical practitioners to retain the professionals in their employment. Similarly, governments must invest in professional training to increase their skills and improve their morale (Harry, 2010). The government should encourage proper lifestyles to reduce high disease prevalence rates. People should be encouraged to seek alternative treatments through retail clinics for minor illnesses and adoption of information technology in reaching for medical services. These include e-visits and telemedicine. Other industry efforts may include expanding mid-level care services, such as mid-wife nurse care delivery and involvement of the private practitioners in provision of health care.
Long-term strategies include engaging in health reform programs that will make the industry more attractive. These measures include engaging in research and technological advancement to enhance efficient delivery of services. The government should promote low training costs through financing loans and scholarships to make it affordable to low income earners. Consequently, the government should expand the number of training institutions to cater for more enrolment and increase the market supply of these professionals.
An example of interest group to help in policy formulation in health care is public interest groups. These groups include the consumer groups, ideology groups, and labor unions. These groups present public concerns, such as employee protection and other social issues. They help in minimizing society moral decay and present their concerns to the government policy makers. Through their actions, they facilitate proper legislative laws that are not discriminative. In particular, the enactment of health policies will help in designing the right package and attract more people to the profession. Through collective action, they provide an essential link between the people and government (Harry, 2010). In the United States of America, the presence of influential groups has been influential in decision-making. Consequently, for effective increase in health services, these interest groups should be included in formulation of medical strategies.
In conclusion, the decline of the number of health
professionals is attributed to high demand for their services compared to
supply. In addition, the compensation for health professionals is low making
the profession unattractive. Both short term and long-term solution can provide
remedies to this mismatch. These include more training institutions in
medicine, better pay for the personnel, and reduction of training costs through
funding. This would involve interest groups, such as Labor unions being
involved in policy formulation.
Harry, S. (2010). Health care criteria for performance excellence: baldrige national quality program. New York: Diane Publishers.
Linda, D., & Berenson, W. (2011).Cultural competencies for nurses: impact on health and illness. London: Jones publishers.
Toni, P. (2005). Aging health care workforce issues. New York: Springer Publishers