Healthcare workers include medical professionals who provide patient care, such as paramedics and registered nurses (RNs). They also include administrative professionals running healthcare facilities or performing administrative tasks, such as medical and health services managers and medical records and health information specialists. In addition, healthcare workers include medical test and treatment specialists, such as respiratory therapists and diagnostic medical sonographers.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the average rate of job growth for all occupations in the United States will be four percent from 2019 to 2029, most healthcare roles have notably higher job growth rates for the same period. While occupational therapy assistants can expect a 35 percent job growth rate during this decade, the BLS indicates respiratory therapists, diagnostic medical sonographers, and nurse practitioners (NPs) will see growth rates of 19, 17, and 52 percent, respectively. Several factors are driving the demand for qualified healthcare professionals, including the ones explored here.
The aging population is driving demand.
Thanks to superior medical care, people can expect to live longer, and that’s increasing demand on healthcare providers. The aging population has sparked increased demand for different types of healthcare services. Instead of moving to nursing homes, many elderly individuals opt to remain in their homes and receive in-home healthcare services from home health aides. In addition to home healthcare services, elderly patients are more likely to need physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy if they’ve suffered a stroke, fall, or other severe medical issues.
Increased demand for healthcare workers leads to staff vacancies. Healthcare companies and facilities that can’t fill vacancies may struggle to maintain favorable working conditions. Long hours and staff shortages cause burnout, prompting existing healthcare workers to leave the field, exacerbating shortages.
More people have health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010. The ACA changed the healthcare industry by ensuring that people with preexisting medical conditions could get health insurance. The ACA also introduced tax penalties for individuals without health insurance, prompting more people to obtain health insurance. Although the number of uninsured persons increased in 2018 and 2019, the number of uninsured persons today is lower than it was before the ACA was introduced. When more people have health insurance, more people seek medical care. In addition, the increased demand for health insurance increases the need for health insurance staff. Health insurance companies hire nurses and other medical professionals to process claims.
It’s also easier than ever to generate a list of health funds and sign up for a health insurance plan. Thanks to health insurance comparison tools, you can go online and produce a list of insurance providers with plans that meet your family’s needs. Enter your location and provide the information the tool requests. Data about the number of family members the plan will cover and your health history helps the tool narrow down your insurance plan options. You can use the health fund list provided to compare rates and choose an insurance plan from a reputable insurance company.
The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the healthcare worker shortage.
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted nurses to retire or leave the medical field due to the demands of coping with worker shortages and a pandemic. The pandemic exacerbated the existing shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Many healthcare workers have also struggled with their mental health due to the pandemic. Healthcare facilities have been forced to adapt and improvise while dealing with supply shortages and lack of facilities to accommodate patient demands, making a challenging situation even more difficult for healthcare workers.
Fortunately, thanks to online programs through reputable, accredited institutions, such as Wilkes University, it’s easier than ever for individuals to earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in nursing and enter the healthcare field. Students who complete a Wilkes University nursing program receive instruction from educators with nursing experience. Nursing students must also complete clinical practice hours, ensuring they have hands-on experience when they get their certification. Individuals with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can enter the field as a registered nurse (RN), while those with a master of science in nursing (MSN) can become nurse practitioners (NPs).
Multiple factors are contributing to the healthcare shortage. The aging population has increased the demand for healthcare services. More people have insurance, which means more people seeking medical care. At the same time, health insurance companies must hire more medical professionals to review claims. The Covid-19 pandemic also prompted some healthcare professionals to retire or leave the field, exacerbating shortages in the healthcare industry.