What is one area of health care worker shortage? What is the reason for this shortage? How would you address this shortage? How does this shortage affect the services available?
The shortage of primary care physicians, nurses, dentists and mental health workers has been growing for years. [ Yet many people struggle to understand how the industry could suffer from worker shortages in an era of economic recession, when many Americans are out of work.
One explanation points to the variety of workers who are needed to keep the healthcare industry functioning. Both
professionals who provide direct health services such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians or those who offer support services such as financial officers, cooks, drivers and cleaners are integral to the industry. A shortage in just one part of that complex web can stop other parts from working efficiently, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.
The WHO notes that developed countries, such as the U.S. are experiencing a shortage due to a growing aging population and increasingly high-tech healthcare. At the same time, government and university leaders have underinvested in health worker education, leaving the country with too few new health workers to replace their retiring colleagues.
The causes are different in poorer nations, according to the WHO. Developing countries, largely in the southern hemisphere, face their own shortage as overworked doctors struggle to fight the AIDS epidemic and suffer high rates of HIV-related illness and death themselves. Add to this the fact that many third-world healthcare workers leave their home countries to seek higher wages and better working conditions in wealthier nations, and the shortages in these poorer nations worsen.
The effects of the shortages
The stakes are high and could have far-reaching effects. Public health nurses represent the largest group of public health professionals, comprising 10 percent of the workforce. Unfortunately, they also are experiencing the greatest shortage of workers. ]
There are no new answers.