Leading Change in Health Services

Introduction to Challenges to Workforce Management in Healthcare

The workforce is an important asset to an organization and a positive work environment ensures the delivery of good quality services. But managing the workforce in healthcare institutions is a daunting task due to emergency rush and quick response time. Sometimes the workforce suffers from depression due to heavy workloads and also poor sleeping habit due to misbalance between extra work shifts and personal life (Webb, 2019). Innovative management strategies are needed to replace conventional management strategies to improve the quality of life at the workplace for the workforce. Also, several challenges are relevant to workforce management within a healthcare environment. So managers in the healthcare systems need to be more efficient to manage the nurses and other staff as every second is crucial in healthcare systems. Also, an additional problem of the increase in the aging population of nurses poses a big challenge to retain the present workforce in the present setting.

Challenges to Workforce Management in Healthcare Institutions

  1. Burnout: The major problem to workforce management is the high prevalence of stress and prolonged anxiety leading to burnout at the workplace. This issue is major because of staff shortage(Cogin et al., 2016) and high turnover rate of employees with workforce switching to newer places with latest technology and trends that ensure better career growth opportunities. This is a problem is directly connected with the kind and quality of services that they deliver and the patient care cannot be sacrificed.
  • A lot of scientific research studies have shown that burn out rates is very high in nurses accounting to 70 % whereas for doctors the burn out rate for doctors is 50 %(Ghiasipour et al., 2017). These alarming rates directly affect the management of the workforce in the healthcare setting and also patient i.e. client satisfaction rates are inversely proportional to burnout rates, thus more is the burn out rate for the organization, lesser is the patient care and hence satisfaction. Thus the workforce is difficult to manage and a challenging situation arises in the management aspect of the healthcare institution.
  • In addition to this satisfaction, rates are lower due to lack of emotional intelligence in the workforce and thus a gap develops in the connectivity of the patient as well as the healthcare provider like the nurse or the doctors i.e. the healthcare professionals.
  • This negative burnout is a great hindrance in the managerial performance for managing the workforce and thus leads to the development of negative work environment and a feeling of unfriendliness with the human resource managers and less empathetic attitudes towards patients. Also if the financial security of the workforce is compromised, it leads to further challenges in managing the workforce as they feel unsatisfied with their jobs and quality of work ultimately drops. Also in some healthcare institutions, the workforce goes on strike and other unethical behaviours in response to increased workloads and a feeling of insecurity in terms of financial and career developments.
  1. Another major challenge to managing a workforce in healthcare institutions is the lack of proper training and lack of emotional intelligence in the workforce as well as managers. The workforce sometimes does not understand the needs of the patient as well as the failure to create a balance between their work-life loads( Harlos et al, 2008) and the quality of work they deliver. So a lack of proper training and skills training can pose a challenge to workforce management. This training is a major investment in terms of managing the workforce and without this, the healthcare workforce cannot be efficiently managed. Also, the lack of emotional management in the managers can lead to the inability of the manager to understand the needs of the workforce and thus a negative atmosphere develops. So it becomes difficult to manage the workforce which ultimately affects the healthcare institutional reputation and thus patient care is compromised in such a condition where it is a challenging situation to manage the workforce.

Also, due to increasing migration of the healthcare professionals and caregivers in search for better work prospects with the latest technology and financial security is a major challenge. So the challenge of managing the transnational diversity in the healthcare workforce is an additional problem in managing the workforce.

 Systems like these require a significant amount of support from management to motivate adoption among the employees who will be using them.

HR professionals need to be aware that systems like these are becoming increasingly prolific in the industry. It’s also important to note that the functional roles of the human resources department in healthcare may include the implementation of new training within their organization.

Importance of Managing Workforce in Leading Change

Managing the workforce is a critical issue in leading a change in the way in which healthcare institutions operate( Fritzen S. A.,2007) and regulate transparency in their working frameworks.

Also, it is important to build patient trust that the workforce engaged in their care is skilled and don't engage in unethical and wrong practices.

In addition to this, it is important to ensure the satisfaction of the workforce in terms of financial security and confidence in their manager in difficult situations.

Workforce Management Strategy to Be Applied in A Healthcare Facility

The application of a workforce management strategy requires a practical and strategic approach to manage the conflicting situations that arise in a healthcare setting in terms of workforce management. A strategic approach to resolve the challenge of emotional intelligence and to reduce the burnout is to acknowledge the workforce. Also, managers need to develop a skill of emotional intelligence to develop an understanding with the workforce and be able to understand their emotional burst out and burnout and avoid any confecting situation. Also, it is important to make the workforce feel appreciated for their efforts and also their role in the development of the organization. The employees of the healthcare settings should feel the authority in their workplace with a clearly defined designation. In lack of a feeling of authority and responsibility towards the workplace, the workforce feels useless and perceive that they are not an important asset of the organization. As person-centred care is the current notion of the healthcare systems for patients, same way employee centred care is important to avoid any harsh feelings of being a liability for an organization

Technological advancements also help to prevent the workforce from getting engaged in any unnecessary migration. In addition to this proper training helps to ensure a feeling of career development (Jaeger et al, 2018) for personal growth along with financial security due to proper training investment.

Recognition strategies along with training programs are the best solution for managing the workforce in the healthcare setting.

Conclusion on Challenges to Workforce Management in Healthcare

 Workforce management is the most important task for the proper working of healthcare institutions. In lack of proper management, the employees feel unrecognized and useless for the organization that negatively affects their services and hence the patient care. So proper strategies (Girot & Albarran, 2012) for managing workforce are required to make the employees feel empowered as well as they should have the authority of decision making for a benefit if the organization.

The proper management and investment in workforce ensure transparency in the frameworks along with clearly defined work roles for the manager as well the workforce.

References for Challenges to Workforce Management in Healthcare

Girot, E., & Albarran, J. (2012). Sustaining the education workforce in healthcare: Challenges for the future. Nurse Education Today32(1), 32-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2011.01.009

Webb, P. (2019). Managing Today’s Workforce to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges. Frontiers Of Health Services Management35(4), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1097/hap.0000000000000057

Ghiasipour, M., Mosadeghrad, A. M., Arab, M., & Jaafaripooyan, E. (2017). Leadership challenges in health care organizations: The case of Iranian hospitals. Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran31, 96. https://doi.org/10.14196/mjiri.31.96

Cogin, J., Ng, J., & Lee, I. (2016). Controlling healthcare professionals: how human resource management influences job attitudes and operational efficiency. Human Resources For Health14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-016-0149-0

Fritzen S. A. (2007). Strategic management of the health workforce in developing countries: what have we learned?. Human resources for health5, 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4491-5-4.

Jaeger, F. N., Bechir, M., Harouna, M., Moto, D. D., & Utzinger, J. (2018). Challenges and opportunities for healthcare workers in a rural district of Chad. BMC health services research18(1), 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-017-2799-6

Harlos, K. P., & Axelrod, L. J. (2008). Work mistreatment and hospital administrative staff: policy implications for healthier workplaces. Healthcare policy, Politiques de sante4(1), 40–50.

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