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Staff Shortages

Healthcare organizations, are at a critical level. Enrollment in RN programs has declined by 50,000 students or 22 percent.*

When there is a staff shortage, the remaining staff must undertake more work responsibilities and therefore, carry a bigger workload. These overworked staff members are more susceptible to mistakes and inefficiencies occur. This can negatively affect patient care, and staff can begin to feel frustrated with the situation. Eventually job dissatisfaction will lead to staff turnover.5

As the economy grows, more shortages will emerge and employee turnover will rise significantly. Research indicates a large portion of the workforce is getting ready to “abandon ship” as the economy improves. Employees are looking for better benefits, career advancement, and greater job satisfaction.6 In addition, student attitudes toward prospective employers has shifted. Lifetime employment with a single employer is no longer attractive to many new hires. Instead, recruits are looking for organizations who can address their early career-development needs, familiarity with company culture and performance values, and basic new employee administrative needs. They are also looking for opportunities to develop friendships and social connections.7

There are several prominent reports and plans focusing attention on the challenges confronting the addiction treatment workforce. Each report discusses the critical issues of staff shortages and high turnover in detail. Recommendations are also offered.

*Smith, Gregory P. (2008). Worker Shortages Crippling Many Industries. Retrieved on January 14, 2008 from shortage.html.

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