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One quarter of hospitals report having a critical staffing shortage, according to a new survey.

The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual “Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence” survey found that 25 percent of hospitals surveyed said they had a critical staffing shortage, up from 20 percent last year.

The most common types of shortages were registered nurses (RNs), pharmacists, and physical therapists.

Hospitals cited several reasons for the shortages, including an aging workforce, retirements, and an increase in the number of patients.

To cope with the shortages, hospitals are using a variety of strategies, including hiring temporary staff, offering higher salaries, and providing incentives for employees to stay.

The AHA survey polled 2,514 hospitals between May and July of this year.

Solutions to address the critical staff shortage

There are several reasons for the staffing shortage in hospitals. One reason is the aging workforce. As baby boomers retire, there is a need for more nurses to take their place. Additionally, the number of patients in hospitals has increased, putting a strain on the staff. 

If this critical staff shortage is not addressed, it could lead to many negative consequences for hospitals, such as increased wait times for patients, decreased quality of care, and higher mortality rates. Some solutions proposed to address the critical staff shortage in hospitals are:

Hiring temporary staff

This could be a stopgap measure, but it does not solve the underlying problem of the shortage of staff.

Offering higher salaries

This may help to attract more people to the field, but it is not a sustainable solution.

Providing incentives for employees to stay

This could help to retain existing staff, but it would not address the overall shortage.

Improving working conditions 

This could make the field more attractive to potential staff and help to retain existing staff.

Increasing funding for training programs

This could help to attract more people to the field and provide them with the necessary skills.

Creating a national health care workforce

This would address the shortage of staff by creating a larger pool of potential employees.

Reducing patient loads

This could help to reduce the amount of work that staff members have to do and make the job more attractive.

The solutions proposed above could help to address the critical staff shortage in hospitals and prevent negative consequences for patients and staff alike.

Scott Larson