The Lab Staffing Crisis
Posted on: Wednesday, November 3, 2021 By: KorchekStaff
Healthcare organizations are no stranger to short staffing. Teams across the spectrum of various departments in hospitals are often challenged to complete their day-to-day work with a lean staff of employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this issue as hospital units are now tasked with navigating a dwindling employee base. Regardless of the reasoning behind the increased short staffing rippling through the hospital landscape, one of the teams most heavily impacted is the laboratory.
Leading up to the onset of COVID-19, staffing in the laboratory has always been a delicate topic. As consultants in the lab space, Korchek is particularly in tune with the difficulties that lab staff frequently face. Hospitals are consistently expanding their technology presence and that undoubtedly flows down into the lab. Staff are then tasked with implementing an effective and compliant new technology while simultaneously carrying out their day job. When faced with the decision of ordinary tasks directly impacting patient care vs. implementing a slick new system, responsible laboratory workers will obviously choose the former.
The pandemic has only highlighted the importance of staffing across the laboratory. Many employees in the twilight of their careers have made the decision to retire early as an opportunity to spend more time with family. According to an article written by Kelly Gooch at Becker’s Hospital Review (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/vaccination-requirements-spur-employee-terminations-resignations-numbers-from-6-health-systems.html), some hospital employees have opted to decline vaccination requirements imposed by states and hospitals, leaving heavy vacancies. In a piece found in CAP TODAY, some leaders consider staffing to be in a meltdown (https://www.captodayonline.com/lab-staff-shortage-calls-for-speed-money-and-more/).
So where does that leave us now? The future is somewhat vague with how the staffing crisis will impact hospital financial departments. Prospective employees know full well they are in high demand and are looking to be handsomely compensated for stepping into positions that are sure to be taxing. Healthcare organizations may even see an increase in the need to outsource work to consulting companies like Korchek as a mechanism to implement projects that have been put on hold during the pandemic. Hospital leadership is facing an uphill battle that appears to only just be starting.