The Health Care Workforce is in Crisis
Health care workforce shortages across Pennsylvania and the nation were approaching a crisis even before the pandemic. An aging population means more health care professionals are retiring just as demand for care is increasing. There is not enough infrastructure in place to recruit, educate, and train the next generation of health care workers who will be needed to care
The COVID-19 pandemic intensified these challenges, increasing burnout among health care workers and accelerating retirements. Workforce shortages and rising violence and abuse targeting health care workers has further compounded the strain on hospital teams.
Pennsylvania’s Workforce Shortages are Among the Most Severe
There is a national health care workforce shortage but the challenges in Pennsylvania are among the most severe.
A 2021 report ranked Pennsylvania’s shortage of nurses the worst in the nation and the commonwealth’s shortages of nursing support staff and mental health professionals third most severe. Among the commonwealth’s 67 counties, 63 are entirely or partially primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and 53 are entirely or partially mental health HPSAs.
High Vacancy Rates
HAP’s November 2022 survey of Pennsylvania hospitals found that vacancy rates for many hospital staff positions increased significantly from 2019. Vacancy rates averaged more than 30 percent for many key positions that make up patient care teams.