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Forecasting 2023 Health Care Workforce Challenges

December 13, 2022

The nation’s nursing workforce lost more than 100,000 people from 2019 through 2022, according to a new report from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The new report from the AHA analyzes health care workforce challenges during the pandemic and top priorities for 2023. The report notes that the U.S. recently had its largest three-year decline in its nursing workforce in 40 years and challenges hospitals to “think innovatively and act boldly to support, retain, and recruit staff.”

“Hospitals and health systems are accustomed to managing workforce pressures in a constantly changing environment, but the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing workforce challenges,” the report notes.

The report includes three core challenges:

  • Reconnect to purpose:  A focus on employee satisfaction, self-care, and a commitment to high-quality patient care are essential strategies to attract and retain engaged workers.
  • Providing support and training in multiple environments:  Health care is transitioning between in-person and virtual environments. A focus on training and “upskilling programs” can prepare workers for modern health care delivery and build more flexibility into roles and staffing models.
  • A focus on innovative recruitment and retention:  Multi-pronged strategies that build flexibility and provide traditional and non-traditional benefits can help attract and retain workers.

“Existing workforce challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic, appear likely to continue well into the future,” the report said. “Building a thriving health care workforce that continues to put high-quality, compassionate care at the center of all they do requires commitment and collaboration from all stakeholders at the individual, organizational and community level.”

The report outlines five focus areas for 2023, including the persistent workforce shortage, supporting workers, turnover, disruption in health care, and stakeholder engagement.

The report and an executive summary are available online.