The healthcare workforce shortage isn’t going to magically solve itself in the next decade. At the same time, job descriptions will be changing, and even top executives will need to update their skill sets. Healthcare leaders need to change the way they recruit—right now.
For starters, healthcare organizations have to get more aggressive when it comes to hiring, says Robin Singleton, head of healthcare practices for the recruiting firm DHR International. That might mean breaking with tradition. Hospitals don’t have to wait until physicians are in their second or third year of residency, for example. They can start wooing them in year one.
For rural areas, that’s all easier said than done: The shortage of healthcare workers has been “looming” for years now. In rural areas, it’s already here.
“Without immediate changes to the supply pipeline today, [the shortages] will reach crisis proportions in areas where the maldistribution of caregivers has always been a chronic problem,” says Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, a professional services and networking organization that’s owned and operated by 35 rural acute and general medical-surgical hospitals.
With an eye toward staffing the hospital of the future, RWHC worked with the University of Wisconsin to create the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine, a rural medical school within a medical school. The program is being expanded to create the rural residencies and training tracks needed to absorb the 25 students who will soon be graduating each year.