10 numbers that illustrate how crunched hospitals are for talent

Talent shortages have affected the mission of hospitals and health systems nationwide. From monthslong strikes to hefty sign-on bonuses, here are 10 numbers showing how workforce shortages affect hospitals:

  1. CEOs named talent shortages the No. 1 challenge facing their company. "Attracting, hiring, retaining, developing, growing, and engaging talent; succession planning; the war for talent; and more constituted one out of every four responses," according to a 2021 Fortune/Deloitte poll. 

  2. Since the start of the year, the U.S. has reported record-breaking workforce shortages. A high of 9.3 million job openings were reported in April, the highest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking job openings in December 2000. 

  3. The U.S. could face a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians by 2034, based on 2020 shortage estimates. In nursing, a Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine formula projects a shortage of 510,394 registered nurses nationwide by 2030.

  4. Employees unhappy with working conditions have opted to strike for higher wages and better working conditions. Nurses at Worcester, Mass.-based St. Vincent Hospital have been striking for more than four months demanding higher pay and better working conditions from their hospital's parent health system, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. The strike is the second longest in Massachusetts history.

  5. Hospitals are incentivizing nurses and other workers to join their teams by expanding sign-on bonuses. Houston Methodist is offering nurses $15,000, and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta is offering nurses $30,000.

  6. To fill gaps, hospitals are going to extreme measures. Thirty National Guard members began their training June 7 at Salem-based Oregon State Hospital's main campus to help reduce workforce strain while staff members are on leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a hospital statement.

  7. To retain talent, some hospitals are allowing their staff to stay remote. Up to 2,000 employees of Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock will continue to work remotely, composing 13 percent of its total workforce. Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Aurora Health will move 12,000 nonclinical employee positions in finance, consumer experience and more departments to remote-first operations.

  8. If employers required employees to get the vaccine to keep their job, 65 percent of healthcare workers who do not plan to get the vaccine or are undecided said they would leave their job, according to a Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

  9. Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Health Care System CEO David Verinder said workforce shortages were a leading factor behind hesitation to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. He told Becker's that if his system were to create a mandate, he would "lose 10 to 15 percent of [his] staff." Doing so would be detrimental to being able to carry out the hospital's vision, he said.

  10. Some hospitals have taken that risk. Houston Methodist reported losing 153 of 26,000 employees due to its mandate. At Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina Health, only five of 17,000 employees were fired over the mandate.




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