A healthcare worker is someone who works in a health or social care setting and directly or indirectly provides care and treatment to people in need of these services. These include the doctors, nurses, physical therapists, healthcare students on their clinical placements, laboratory technicians and those who are not in direct contact with the patients. (Joseph & Joseph 2021.) These healthcare workers make up the global health workforce that is a vital part of the healthcare industry. Healthcare setting varies between public and private sector organizations (HPSC 2021).
Healthcare workers are so in demand that they are always needed worldwide. They don’t go jobless, the security is there because of this high demand. Unfortunately, their number has been decreasing for many years now. An example of this is the deficit in the number of nurses who make up the bulkiest part of the health field. They play a crucial part in the healthcare industry. The aging population, which increases the number of patients and clients seeking healthcare services and aging workforce, wherein one-third of them is in the retirement age, increase the need further. Other reasons include burnouts, violence in the workplace and female healthcare workers choice between career and family. (Haddad & al 2020.)
Concrete examples of declining number of health workers
According to Erestain (2022) lack of workforce is affecting on student’s mentoring and the time that students can spend with their mentors. Students are also welcomed to part time work. The quality of patient care and safety is compromised due to the shortage of manpower. The healthcare workers, especially nurses, are directly affected by this problem. Their physical and mental health are impaired due to stress and long working hours. Burnouts and low income received also add to their decision of leaving their current jobs and looking for a less enervating and better paying jobs.
Health workers are vital in the global healthcare workforce. They should find ways to guard and secure the workforce to prevent this chronic problem. Otherwise, they will face tremendous dilemma that will imperil the whole healthcare industry because of the inadequate workforce. Health care organizations should also pay attention to engagement to work and provide more information how to increase engagement and work satisfaction among health care workers.
Lovilla Erestain is a graduating nursing student at LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Emilia Laapio-Rapi works as Principal lecturer at LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Erestain, L. 2022. The impact of manpower shortage in the healthcare industry. Bachelor’s thesis. LAB University of Applied Sciences. Cited 1 Dec 2022. Available at https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2022112524187
geralt. 2017. Altmann, G. Osallisuus, ryhmä, pyörätuoli. Cited 1 Dec 2022. Available at https://pixabay.com/fi/illustrations/osallisuus-ryhm%c3%a4-py%c3%b6r%c3%a4tuoli-2731343/
Haddad, L. M., Annamaraju, P. & Toney-Butler, T. J. 2020. Nursing Shortage. Florida: StatPearls Publishing. Cited 11 Aug 2022. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/
Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 2021. Definition of a healthcare worker. Cited 11 Oct 2022. Available at https://www.hpsc.ie/notifiablediseases/casedefinitions/healthcareworkerdefinition/
Joseph, B. & Joseph, M. 2016. The health of the healthcare worker. Indian J Occup Environ Med, May-Aug 2016, 20 (2): 71-79.