Healthcare must innovate to attract and retain workforce, AHA says in new report

The U.S. nursing workforce lost more than 100,000 people between 2019 and 2022, its largest decline in 40 years, and the American Hospital Association wants to do something about that to ensure healthcare systems can retain workers, a new report said.

The challenge remains writ large as there is a continuing shortage of healthcare workers, "massive worker turnover," morale issues and inflationary pressures, among other issues, the AHA says in its "2023 Health Care Workforce Talent Scan."

To mitigate such a declining trend, the AHA makes three specific recommendations:

  • Reconnect to purpose: Implement workplace practices that strengthen employee satisfaction and allow employees to feel heard and valued consistently.
  • Provide support, training and technology needed to thrive in multiple care delivery environments: Safely and effectively bring care to patients where they are so as to improve outcomes as well as build a more equitable healthcare system.
  • Recruit innovatively, invest in retention and build a robust pipeline: Implement multi-pronged strategies that include investing in innovative upskilling programs and on-the-job training opportunities as well as expanding nursing programs or launching new ones. Healthcare systems should also provide nontraditional support such as affordable housing and child care to help attract and retain workers.

The challenge remains very difficult, and there will be a need for multiple stakeholders to work together to ensure the industry not only attracts good workers but also offers them the support necessary to retain them, the AHA concluded.

"Building a thriving health care workforce that continues to put high-quality, compassionate care at the center of all they do requires commitment and collaboration from all stakeholders at the individual, organizational and community level," the report stated.

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