Hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country are beginning to adapt to a “new normal,” as the height of the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down. The unexpected and unprecedented arrival of the pandemic forced healthcare organizations to shift policies and adopt new processes  – forever changing the face of the landscape as we once knew it. 

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges healthcare executives must grapple with is the harrowing reality of burnout and an overburdened workforce. After nearly a year of intense pressure and stress posed by the outbreak, employers must respond accordingly to preserve the well-being of their staff. 

Addressing the issue will require healthcare organizations to implement new systems and tools, as well as reimagine the workplace environment to better support their staff’s needs in the wake of the pandemic. 

Challenges That Emerged from the Pandemic

From LPNs to Nurse Managers, Attending Physicians to Medical Directors, the obstacles faced are two-fold: fighting the virus itself and coping with fears surrounding their own safety. According to Health Affairs, “Burnout among physicians and other health care workers threatens the capacity and performance of the health care system. Physicians experiencing burnout often reduce their hours or leave medicine altogether. The number of perceived medical errors is greater, and empathy is reduced.”

Implementing crisis-related policies is pivotal for handling surge capacity and maintaining high-level patient care. Succession planning and leveraging healthcare recruiting experts are two strategies organizations are employing to combat increased patient volume, address coverage gaps, drive positive patient outcomes and retention and improve overall profitability. 

Key Staffing Solutions for Moving Forward

Preparedness is crucial for healthcare facilities moving forward. Offering elevated support and attracting new staff members requires organizations to adopt agile and flexible staffing solutions. What’s more, they need to place a renewed emphasis on effective communication as well as crisis training to ensure staff is adequately prepared for emergency situations. Cultivating a culture steeped in recognition and feedback will also go a long way in maintaining morale and strengthening the physician-patient relationship. 

Healthcare staffing shortages were further exacerbated by the pandemic, leading to increased demand and high competition. How facilities present their opportunity – from wages to culture – will play a pivotal role in attracting experienced staff and combating high turnover rates. 

Offering flexible schedules and bonus opportunities for efforts that go above and beyond are great ways to keep staff healthy and engaged. Maintaining a competitive edge also requires hospitals and facilities to speed up their recruitment process – which will ensure top physician and executive-level workers aren’t swept up by competitors. 

A myriad of valuable learnings has come from the unanticipated arrival of COVID-19. The battle against the pandemic has forever transformed the way healthcare organizations operate, staff and deliver care. Continued vigilance, along with a focus on regularly assessing processes and adapting procedures to accommodate the changing environment is key to recovering from the emotional and financial toll of the pandemic. 

As organizations embrace this new normal, it’ll present many opportunities for healthcare executives to implement effective physician staffing strategies. To learn more about how Polaris can help your hospital or facility drive growth and patient outcomes through strategic staffing solutions, contact us today.