The healthcare staffing crisis is wreaking havoc in nations around the world. More physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and other healthcare workers are leaving the industry. Stress, long hours, burnout, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and pay inequity are just some of the reasons behind the exodus. We must face reality: this is not a problem with a short-term fix. In fact, healthcare needs to re-brand itself as a career destination or we risk extending this problem over the next 10-15 years.
Healthcare Careers Not Top of Mind with Kids
Back when I was young, there was a boardgame that we loved to play called Game of Life which came out in 1960 (it’s still around today). As part of the game, you had a chance at landing on a few careers like teacher, lawyer and doctor. Everyone wanted to be a doctor because for the rest of the game, every time you passed “Pay Day” you would get the most $$$ ($120,000 if memory serves in the 70s version).
Although it is unclear how many clinicians were inspired by the Game of Life to pursue careers in medicine, the game did reflect public opinion about healthcare at the time and imprint one fact in young minds – being a doctor = big pay day.
Fast forward to 2022 and unfortunately being a doctor, nurse, or any healthcare worker ranks far below “movie star”, “influencer”, “rock star”, “professional athlete”, and “internet entrepreneur”. All you have to do is ask any 10-year-old what their dream job is and you’ll have the proof you need.
Also, put yourself in the shoes of a 16-year-old in high school today. As you look to your future, would doctor, nurse, EMT, healthcare data analyst, RCM expert be a career path you would choose…especially with how healthcare workers are being treated these days? Not mention the talk of the incredible amount of debt that people accumulate going through med school.
In short, the luster has left careers healthcare.
Healthcare As A Desirable Destination
We need to address this right away. If we don’t, in 10 years’ time we will have a generation of kids who will not have doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare career in their top 3. Good luck trying to solve the healthcare staffing crisis then.
In my mind, we need to change the narrative about careers in healthcare. Instead of focusing on what you could earn, we need to highlight how healthcare directly helps people in the local community. How it is one of the few careers that pays-it-forward on a daily basis. How every role makes the world a better place. THIS is what will draw people back into healthcare AND it is something the industry can deliver on.
I would also highlight how healthcare is a great place for those that are interested in science, technology, math, biology, and working on a team.
So how do we do this? I’m looking forward to hearing from the HCLDR community on this!
Healthcare Careers That Need More Spotlight
Doctors, nurses and EMTs are the most well-known healthcare careers. They are the public-face of healthcare on TV and when you interact with the healthcare system. However, there are thousands of other healthcare careers that equally fulfilling and suited for people who may get a little squeamish at the sight of blood.
Here is a short list of other roles that need more spotlight so that more people will opt to pursue them:
- Physical Therapist
- MRI technician
- Laboratory Technician
- Healthcare Cybersecurity Expert
- Clinical Engineer
- Healthcare Marketer (I’m obviously biased on this one)
We need to a better job at highlighting the diverse roles that are available in healthcare and how ALL OF THEM contribute to helping patients.
Join me on the next #HCLDR tweetchat on Tuesday August 2nd at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) when we will discuss:
- Q1 Healthcare has traditionally been seen as lucrative career. What other characteristics should be highlighted about jobs/careers in healthcare?
- Q2 Other than doctors, nurses, and EMTs, what other roles need to be highlighted so that people know there is more to healthcare than medicine?
- Q3 How can we make healthcare a desirable career destination for kids? Share your ideas!
- Q4 If you work in healthcare, what drew you to your role? If you don’t work in healthcare, what role would you choose if you did get into the field and why?
Runzulli, Kerri Anne. “14 high-paying in-demand health-care jobs you can get without an MD or PhD”, CNBC, 12 May 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/10/14-high-paying-healthcare-jobs-you-can-get-without-an-md-or-phd.html, accessed 1 August 2022
Trimarchi, Maria. “10 Fun Careers in Medicine”, How Stuff Works, https://money.howstuffworks.com/10-fun-careers-in-medicine.htm, accessed 1 August 2022
Oppenheimer, Terri Heimann. “Jobs for People with a Healthcare Administration Degree”, 20 January 2021, https://nurse.org/healthcare/healthcare-administration-careers/, accessed 1 August 2022
“Healthcare Careers (Video)”, Nemours, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/health-care-careers.html, accessed 1 August 2022
Holden L, Rumala B, Carson P, Siegel E. “Promoting careers in health care for urban youth: What students, parents and educators can teach us”, Inf Serv Use, January 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4286884/, accessed 1 August 2022
Photo by MART PRODUCTION: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-radiologist-operating-the-ct-scanner-7088842/