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Key Insights: Building the Health Care Workforce

New AHA guide includes resources hospital leaders need to know for recruitment, retention, diversity, and creative staffing

September 08, 2022

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, building a strong health care workforce topped the list of priorities for health care leaders across the U.S.

This week, the American Hospital Association (AHA) released the third and final section of its guide to strengthen the health care workforce, focusing on recruitment and retention, diversity and inclusion, and creative staffing models.

The guide notes how the pandemic has amplified existing workforce challenges and highlighted the need to adapt and change to new realities.

“Like most topics covered in this guide, the challenges that existed before the pandemic in recruitment and retention remain, but have been amplified by the ongoing nature and toll of the pandemic on the workforce,” the report notes. “Combined with broader demographic and social changes, many traditional expectations of employers and employees have been upended.”

Among the key takeaways:

  • A new recruiting environment:  Shifts in the age and number of available health care workers will affect future recruiting efforts across the U.S. A focus on culture is essential to supporting the workforce.
  • Data is your friend:  In order to support workforce recruitment and retention efforts, you must understand the metrics and data that will inform and guide your overall strategies.
  • Diversity and inclusion:  A diverse and inclusive environment starts with leadership that is “representative of the patients and communities they serve,” the report notes.
  • Creative staffing models:  Evaluate lessons from the pandemic related to workflows, workplaces, and teams to understand what can work best for your organization.
  • Quotable:  “A diverse workforce understands that the cultures, issues, and needs of local patient populations can provide deeper insight that results in better decision-making about how to serve those communities,” the report notes. “Those decisions then have the potential to positively impact patient experience, safety and quality, and your communities’ overall health.”

The third section of the guide—as well as the first and second sections—is available online.

HAP continues to work with our members to identify challenges and opportunities to promote Pennsylvania’s health care workforce. Learn more about our workforce priorities.