The health sector is one of the most important sectors of the nation. This is because it takes care of every person in the country from the street sweeper to the president. Despite the sensitivity of this field, there are many challenges that affect it, derailing the performance of the practitioners in this field. Consequently, the health sector is unable to provide the best services to the patients. Of all the challenges affecting the health sector, one of the most rampant challenges is a shortage of personnel. This paper looks into the effects of this challenge and suggests recommendations on how to address the issue.
The effects of the shortage of personnel are acutely felt in organizations of healthcare and hospitals (American College of Healthcare Executives, 2013). Despite this problem being a major concern, hospitals and the healthcare organizations have a duty and responsibility to provide quality services and attention to their patients ( American College of Healthcare Executives, 2012). To that effect, there is a tendency of the already existing workforce being overstretched. Since they have to attend to many people for long hours, their output in the job is limited. Some of the patients especially those who are attended when the personnel is tired end up being partially attended to. On the same note, a tired mind is not in the best judgment. As a result, the individual tends to suffer memory lapses or get confused when deciding which treatment to offer.
Another challenge with the lack of adequate personnel is the impression of mistrust created to the patients. Owing to the substandard services offered to them by a few overworked members of staff in the hospital, the patients lose confidence with the hospital and refrain from recommending the hospitals to their friends. Consequently, the hospital loses popularity among the members of the public.
Before suggesting the recommendations on how to address the issue of labor shortage in the medical field, it is worthwhile to investigate the causes of the shortages so that the recommendations suggested are on target to deal with those causes. The shortage of nurses is the most rampant challenge in the hospital and healthcare organizations (Buerhaus et al., 2007). However, other personnel like physicians, technicians, pharmacists, technologists, and medical information record coders, specialists of information service, food service personnel, housekeepers and therapists. The major cause of their shortage is the booming challenge of unemployment across the country. The government is reluctant to employ more personnel not only in the medical sector but also in other sectors (Elliott, Scott, Skåtun, Farrar, & Napper, 2003). As a result, the healthcare sector experiences shortage in personnel. On the other hand, hospitals address the demand for the provision of competitive compensation in a period when the resources are constrained.
Another cause for the shortage of healthcare personnel is the fact that the sector has lost popularity among those seeking jobs and thus becoming an undesired employer. According to an article found in the American Hospital Association website, the appeal of careers found in the healthcare sector, especially in the hospital has changed over the last two decades. Within the time of a single generation the sector of health care has moved from being a desired employer to a less desired one (American Hospital Association, 2001).
With that in consideration, the recommendations to confront the issue of shortage of personnel are simply geared towards eradicating the causes for the same. First, unemployment being a common menace across the employment sectors should be dealt with at a national level. The government should come up with a strategy that will see many people employed and the rate of unemployment being reduced to the least it can be.Second, the challenge of health care sector being an undesired employer can be addressed by improving the working conditions in the sector. This can also be accompanied by incentives that will make many students desire to take courses in the medical field. This is because many students do not take up courses in the medical field out of fear. The government should therefore work towards encouraging many students to take up the courses in this field. Lastly, since these people hold the welfare of the country at hand, they should be paid well so that they can be happy in providing the services. The nurses, for example, do a lot of work to cater for the sick. If they are not satisfied with the remuneration given to them, they can give up the job and opt to do something else or work but provide substandard services. To avoid such scenarios, the health care should provide a remuneration strategy that will please all their workers.
In conclusion, the challenges facing the health sector can be addressed with a little more effort geared towards this call. Being a vital sector in any country, the government cannot sit back to watch as this sector crumbles down as this would mean a slow death to the members of the public. This is a wake-up call to the government and the people concerned to ensure that the challenges facing the health care sector are addressed for the well-being of the people.
American College of Healthcare Executives. (2012, November 12). Ethical Issues Related to Staff Shortages. Retrieved from American College of Healthcare Executives: http://www.ache.org/policy/shortage.cfm
American College of Healthcare Executives. (2013, June 15). Top Issues Confronting Hospitals: 2013. Retrieved from American College of Health Executives: http://www.ache.org/pubs/research/ceoissues.cfm
American Hospital Association. (2001, January 23). Workforce Supply for Hospitals and Health Systems. Retrieved June 25, 2014, from American Hospital Association: http://www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/workforce/workforceB0123.shtml
Buerhaus, P. I., Donelan, K., Norman, L., Ulrich, B. T., DesRoches, C., & Dittus, R. (2007). Impact Of The Nurse Shortage On Hospital Patient Care: Comparative Perspectives. Health Affairs, 853-862. Retrieved from Health Affairs: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/26/3/853.full
Elliott , B., Scott , A., Skåtun, D., Farrar, S., & Napper , M. (2003). The Impact of Local Labour Market Factors on the Organisation and Delivery of Health Services. Aberdeen: Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen.