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Here's Why Healthcare Employees' Retention Matters

by Katherine Pierce

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The healthcare industry is a crucial part of the lives of everyone. Healthcare workers have always carried the great responsibility of caring for their patients.


Over the last few years, doctors, nurses, and everyone on the frontlines of the pandemic dealt with incredibly difficult circumstances that required so much from them to the point of risking their own lives every day.


Healthcare workers face many hardships during their long shifts and are overworked, often past their breaking point. It is no wonder healthcare managers experience continual employee turnover, and it’s a struggle to keep the healthcare team intact.


Finding new employees to fill missing positions isn’t as easy as one might think, and you would need more resources to take on a new employee. But the retention of healthcare workers goes beyond the money and other resources the hospital spends to take on a new member.


A quitting employee also means losing the experience and skill of a more seasoned member of the hospital’s healthcare team. You cannot easily replace those skills and expertise.



Why is the Healthcare Industry Struggling to Retain its Employees?


Employee retention is something all human resources managers think about, but especially so in such a demanding field like the healthcare industry.


According to one study, healthcare providers face two significant challenges when retaining employees: structural and regulatory changes in the industry and departmental and individual discontent. Employees are stressed out, and some remain in these stressful environments at their own peril by force or feeling like they have no other option.


These regulatory changes could involve incident reporting or how their higher-ups enforce specific policies. Many of the staff also feel stretched too thin and emotionally drained. Others have expressed developing mental health issues due to the strains of their job.


The pressures of being in the medical field can be incredibly taxing. GPs have cited issues around job satisfaction and physical working conditions as critical factors in the increased GP turnover rate in the past decade.


NHS workers have also reported workplace culture as why they leave their roles. In 2020, one in eight NHS staff has experienced discrimination at work. Reports of bullying, harassment, or abuse from managers and fellow colleagues have also been cited by the staff.


Many healthcare employees also explained that the national shortage of medical professionals had left them with increased workloads. As a result, employees are burnt out and rushed, leaving patients with below-average care.


Recently, healthcare professionals reported having intentions to leave the service. A common reason is exhaustion and stress. In a 2021 survey, 18% of doctors have considered leaving the profession, a leap from 12% in 2019. This is no surprise considering the demands they had to face.


Nurses have also planned or considered leaving their roles due to feeling undervalued, exhausted, and under too much pressure.



The Importance of Employee Retention in Healthcare


The problems the healthcare organisations and workers face are multi-layered. It does not have straightforward solutions to solve everything entirely, but it can definitely guide the organization to the right path.


Understandably, scheduling can be a difficult part of medical staffing. But employees will appreciate having control over their time. This gives them a more holistic life that includes time with loved ones. This can lead to healthier mental health that can help them feel more job satisfaction and stay in the organization for longer.


Conducting interviews to listen to the employees’ pain points is also a great way to understand them. These interviews can help assess what management and the workplace can improve on.


You can also remove frustrating obstacles and unnecessary challenges that may hinder them from performing their duties to the best of their abilities. You can implement new technology or streamlined services to help lessen their burden.


This results in healthcare workers that feel more satisfied with their work as they can focus more on helping their patients. There is more balance between administrative and clinical work.


And as NHS nurses have been vocal about in recent times, a well-compensated staff is crucial. NHS staff should have fair and reasonable pay and work conditions. Not addressing this aspect of the workforce crisis just aggravates the NHS staff crisis and puts patients at risk.


Of course, recognition is always a great way to boost employee morale. Positive feedback, reinforcement, and a few kind words are always appreciated in the workplace. It also increases employee engagement and motivation.


Developing a kinder workplace culture can also be incredibly helpful in keeping employees happy. Staff should be able to safely call out instances of bullying and racism and have proper measures enacted.


With all the demands of the healthcare industry, sometimes people forget that healthcare workers are humans with breaking points too. It is crucial to provide support where they need it, to keep them in their hospitals and clinics, so they can continue serving their communities.