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Healthcare Workers Quitting: 4 Ways You Can Turn It Around

healthcare workers quitting


Your employees are the heartbeat of your facilities, and they need your support more than ever.

Healthcare workers are quitting in droves with about 1 in 5 leaving their job since the pandemic started. As a Team Supervisor, you know what additional strain that puts on your remaining colleagues and how that can lead to lower quality of patient care.

In a Morning Consult poll of 1,000 healthcare workers from September 2–8, nearly 80% of respondents said they “had been impacted by the national shortage of medical professionals in some way…with many respondents saying workloads had increased, leading to either rushed or below-average care for patients.”

Advisory Board, a company with four decades of experience researching the top challenges and best ideas in healthcare, lists the 13 reasons healthcare workers are quitting and recommends those in leadership positions “address the foundational problems undermining your team's resilience.”

What foundational problems has their research uncovered in healthcare? What action steps do they recommend you take?

Problem → Action Step

  1. 1Safety threats in the workplace → Ensure nurses are safe and feel safe at work
  2. Compromises in care delivery → Be transparent about how you are staffing the mission
  3. A lack of time to recover from traumatic experiences → Make emotional support opt-out, not opt-in
  4. Feeling isolated, even when surrounded by people all day → Carve out time for personal connection

Let’s dive more into each action step and how you can help prevent healthcare workers quitting.

Help Prevent Healthcare Workers Quitting

1. Ensure Healthcare Worker Safety

Sick people are often not the best versions of themselves. We’ve all been there. But with the rampant politicizing of the pandemic in the U.S., conflicting opinions and beliefs about such things as vaccinations, masking, and social distancing has people behaving poorly on an entirely new level. Healthcare workers, once saluted as heroes, are now getting threats instead of applause. Many public health officials feel like they have a target on their back.

Take your team members' concerns seriously, take action however possible, and openly communicate with your team about what measures are being enacted for their safety. Examples include increased security guards and responsibilities, such as enforcing mask and visitor rules.

2. Be Transparent About Staffing

High healthcare turnover is clearly a problem right now. If there is a staffing shortage, be transparent with your team about why that is, what’s being done, and how long they can expect the shortage to continue. Let your team know what is being done to onboard new employees quickly so they get the support they need fast.

If you truly don’t know when the shortage will be filled, be transparent about that too. We are living in strange times and as a Team Supervisor you can only work with what you have to work with: People, information, time. Offer an extra dose of grace to your team members during this pandemic, and make sure to offer grace to yourself as well.

3. Provide Emotional Support

Every single healthcare worker needs emotional support right now. By making it “opt-out” rather than “opt-in,” you’ll increase the numbers of team members receiving the help they need to continue working their high stress jobs during this pandemic.

From training on how to cope with stress and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic to free counseling services to promoting work-life balance strategies, there are many ways your organization or company can provide emotional support to its healthcare workers.

4. Build Teams Through Personal Connection

Loneliness has a way of enlarging existing problems. What we can suffer in good company, we cannot get through on our own. To help prevent healthcare workers quitting, you must focus on building your team through personal connection.

The True Colors methodology facilitates team building by helping participants understand not only their own strengths and challenges but also those of their teammates. This understanding, coupled with a shared language gained through our trainings, helps people connect with each other in more meaningful and productive ways. Our programming creates greater self-awareness and appreciation of others — helping to greatly reduce instances of miscommunication and conflict so teams can perform their best.

Healthcare Workers Are Quitting and They Need Your Help Healthcare workers truly are heroes — but they are not superheroes. They are human. They have families. They have a finite amount of physical and emotional energy to give before burnout is inevitable.

You care about your employees. They are the heartbeat of your facilities. If they are not operating at their best, not only are you concerned for their wellbeing, but you know patients won’t receive the quality service they deserve, and you aim to deliver.

Take to heart the four recommendations discussed above and help prevent healthcare workers quitting.

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