Future health care growth requires facilities to focus on recruitment, retention

President's PerspectiveAs facilities across the state strive to continue to provide access to quality, affordable health care, the need to recruit and retain a qualified workforce has never been greater.

Occupations that provide direct health care services are among the fastest growing professions in South Dakota, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. The professions are projected to make up about 14 percent of the state’s new jobs between 2012 and 2022. The heightened demand is attributed to population growth, an aging patient population, an aging health care workforce that is retiring, technological advances that require more staff and a growing emphasis on disease management.

Registered nurses and nursing assistants will account for the bulk of new positions, though new workers will be needed across the health care industry, according to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. The largest percent change increases over the decade are expected for orthotists and prosthetists, diagnostic medical sonographers, postsecondary health specialties teachers and postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers.

The American Hospital Association (AHA), in developing a recent white paper on workforce planning management, conducted more than 30 interviews with top-level executives. The paper recommends making sure valued, long-term employees have easy access to tools and resources for continuing education, determining if any retiring staff could transfer their skills to new caregiving positions such as those found in geriatric care, hospice or home health care and creating a progression chart elevating people to the top of their skill level, credentials, and/or education.

In an effort to assist rural facilities with their recruitment efforts, South Dakota has established the J-1 Visa Waiver Program to help these communities recruit foreign or international medical graduate physicians. The employing facility must be located in or serving residents of a shortage area as determined by the Department of Health and designated by the federal government.

Here are a couple of upcoming events to help facilities with their recruitment and retention efforts:

  • SDAHO is bringing in author and transformational leader Ann Loehr to speak at the SDAHO 90th Annual Convention about using the Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) to retain employees. EQ, a measure to identify, understand and use emotional information from self and others, helped Pepsi executives decrease that company’s turnover by 87 percent. Loehr’s session is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22, from 1:45-2:45 p.m.
  • The South Dakota Office of Rural Health is offering a free, eight-part webinar series this fall on recruiting to rural and underserved areas. The 3RNet Recruiting for Retention Academy, which starts Oct. 4, offers online training specific to rural and underserved communities. Sessions will cover such topics as forming a recruitment action plan, leveraging your state primary care office, the J1 Visa Waiver Program and the National Health Service Corps.