Health care professionals are learning a valuable lesson from their competition: They are often better prepared for the challenges of the 21st century than their colleagues.
As the healthcare workforce is constantly evolving and evolving, health care professionals must take on new challenges in order to meet the evolving needs of the global population, said Dr. Mark Bovis, dean of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Management.
“It’s a challenge we are still in the early stages of understanding,” said Bovs, who has been working with the Department of Labor on how to develop a new workforce-development plan for health care workers.
Health care workers in particular need to be aware of the changing nature of the job and to be able to adapt to the changing needs of their communities, he said.
The challenge is that the health sector is evolving at a faster pace than the workforce.
The average health care worker has already moved into the 21 st century.
And the next big leap is in healthcare technology, where health care providers can provide care to people in a range of settings, from hospitals to homes and offices, said Bivins, who is also the director of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement at the Boston University School of Public Health.
What the Health Care Workforce Needs A healthy workforce, he explained, is a key element of a robust, sustainable economy.
That means that employers need to ensure that their employees can be fully employed in a healthy way.
“What you want is for employees to be comfortable, healthy and happy, and it should be easy to meet those needs,” Bovins said.
“In this way, the workforce will function more efficiently and effectively.”
Health care workers have traditionally been expected to spend their working lives at home, which has created a lot of confusion about what the health of a healthcare worker should look like.
“We need to really think through what we’re providing to the workforce,” said Elizabeth Coyle, who heads the department of labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which analyzes health care employment trends.
“When you look at this workforce, the healthiest are the ones that can be most easily integrated into the workforce.”
Coyle said employers should be able provide healthcare workers with flexible working hours, flexible work schedules and flexible compensation.
Coyle also recommended that health care employees be able take advantage of the workforce-sharing benefits that are available.
“If you’re a health care provider, you need to find ways to collaborate with others to create a more productive work environment,” she said.
“We have to be mindful of how this is being shared with the workforce in a sustainable way, and that’s not just through the healthcare sector but also in other sectors,” said Drs.
Lisa R. Condon and Robert M. Zeman, both of the University of California, San Francisco.
If the goal is to increase productivity and make sure we’re getting the best outcomes from our workers, Condon said, the goal shouldn’t be just about how much they can do, but how many of them can do it.
To make sure healthcare workers can perform at the highest levels of their profession, employers must also consider how the work can benefit the communities they serve, said M.T. Caulfield, president of the American Medical Association’s Council of Representatives.
For example, he suggested that health professions might be better positioned to address the issues of obesity, diabetes and stroke that have been linked to decreased productivity.
While health care work may not be the most glamorous job, it is a vital part of the health insurance and retirement plans that help millions of Americans stay healthy.
“We need health care and retirement professionals to do more to keep people healthy and to provide services for them, and we need to get the best care possible,” Caulfons said.
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Written by Jennifer Noland.