Such issues as physician/nurse shortage, budget pressure, and high demand have existed in the healthcare sector long before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. However, today, the crisis disrupts the timeline and nature of medical field transformation, as well as increases threats that the healthcare organizations currently face. The healthcare recruiting problem revolves around how the medical facilities engage, retain, motivate and reward nurses, physicians, and other professionals.
Attraction of Necessary Number of Candidates
Staff shortage is a significant problem affecting the healthcare sector. WHO predicts a worldwide shortfall of 15 million healthcare workers by 2030. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some positive signs for healthcare recruiters. Unemployment across healthcare sector decreased, and the demand for medical services skyrocketed with new specialists entering the field. However, as some sectors begin reopening their doors, the society observes mass exodus from healthcare institutions and return to the pre-pandemic level of nurse/physician shortage.
If the recruitment in the medical field cannot change the current state of affairs, it is more likely that the quality of care will deteriorate, and patient outcomes will worsen.
Negative Employer Branding
In most cases, employers in the medical field do not give a priority to the organization’s reputation and investments in it. Some of them consider that research or patient care is more important than wasting money for marketing. However, potential candidates are still affected by poor organizational reputation. Individuals want to collaborate with employers, who will consider their social responsibilities and value their contributions. According to Soeling, reputation is a significant factor in the choice of a company. Therefore, employers need to provide sufficient evidence, achievements, and accomplishments on social media profiles and organizations’ website.
Employee turnover is a serious problem in the field of healthcare, particularly, in the era of COVID-19 pandemic. In most cases, workforce turnover leads to poor morale, inconsistent performance, high training cost, and low profit. Additionally, turnover is inevitable for international employees. Newly recruited specialists may leave their post, return back home, or choose another country. A lack of employee and employer support and motivation can also encourage turnover in the healthcare facility.
Hiring in Rural Areas
People are the most important factor empowering a workforce. According to Steeb, despite 50% of the world’s population living in rural communities, only 23% of healthcare workers practice in those areas, leading to significant gaps in care for rural populations across developed and developing countries. However, finding skillful, qualified, and experienced candidates, who are ready to work in isolated locations is a challenging process, because salaries in the rural areas are lower than in the cities. Although the quality of life and the cost of living in rural areas can attract employees, it can take longer for them to fill the healthcare role outside the urban area.
Staff shortage increases the time of hiring, agency and advertising expenses. During current COVID-19 pandemic, medical facilities cannot afford increasing healthcare costs. Hospitals spend almost $10,000 in direct recruitment costs for every nurse position that should be filled, while the length of time to fill one nurse position takes almost 82 days. If healthcare organizations do not address their high healthcare expenses problem, the quality of care will deteriorate. Therefore, healthcare recruiters need to achieve cost-effectiveness throughout the recruitment cycle.
Hiring in the field of healthcare is one of the most challenging tasks, particularly, in times of crisis. Employers have a significant impact on health and well-being of both staff members and patients. Therefore, it is crucial to hire the right candidates and properly balance skills and aptitude for performing duties properly. Recruiters also have a great power to support healthcare organizations and ensure that better recruitment provides improved care outcomes.