3 min read

The Great Resignation's 'Brain Drain'. A Healthcare Crisis

There’s something to be said about an organization that’s stacked with long-term employees, especially in the healthcare sector. Healthcare workers with more than 10 years of employment at the same organization are invaluable, yet becoming more and more rare in modern times. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift in the way people began to think about their careers and their employers. A Forbes article in May 2022 reported that healthcare has lost up to 30% of its nurses. The result of this shift was “the great resignation,” where people left their jobs in droves in pursuit of a better fit or early retirement. For healthcare, the consequence of caregivers and hospital leaders leaving for greener pastures is the loss of institutional knowledge, aka “the big brain drain.” The more tenured an employee is, the more valuable and resourceful they become. When organizations lose these employees, they lose key information that causes a ripple effect throughout the organization. As the average tenure of healthcare workers within hospitals continues to decrease, training newcomers becomes more expensive and less efficient, directly impacting patient care.  

The pandemic pushed many veteran health-care workers into early retirement, lowering the average experience level in American hospitals.”  

-Ed Yong, the Atlantic, May 18, 2022.

So how can the healthcare sector proactively combat brain drain? By adapting to the new normal and leaning on eLearning to fill the knowledge gaps previously filled by tenured employees. In this post we’ll discuss the benefits of eLearning and how you can use it to reduce brain drain in your org. 

Shortened on-boarding times means employees can get to work ASAP. 

The current training process within most healthcare organizations can be long, arduous, and inconsistent. That’s because, depending on the training discipline, some organizations rely on other employees to on-board newcomers in their downtime. Depending on the discipline of healthcare, downtime can vary exponentially. This means longer on-boarding, which directly impacts patient care! If a hospital hires more nurses for their intensive care unit, they likely need those nurses to be up and running as soon as possible, not to be stuck in training for longer than necessary.  

You can decrease on-boarding time with eLearning, because it eliminates the need to dedicate an internal resource to training newcomers. This means those employees can continue with their day-to-day activities while newcomers are training on their own. In some cases, implementing eLearning can cut down training time by 50%, and this translates into more nurses available to provide patient care. 

More on-boarding means more money – unless it’s eLearning. 

If your organization hires trainers to bring newcomers on board, the number of new hires directly impacts the amount of money spent on new hire training. Our current economic environment has been described as a ‘perfect storm’ of factors adversely impacting hospital operating margins. Budgets are tighter than usual, and funding allocated to training is one of the first line items to be reduced. Keep in mind that healthcare workers are in demand and facilities are hiring, so there’s a disconnect that needs addressing. Training resources are being reduced at the exact moment that an influx of newhires are joining the organization. This is a problem everyone needs to get in front of, quickly. 

Many companies are choosing eLearning for its exceptional ability to on-board employees in a cost-effective way without sacrificing quality, consistency, or time. For example, one of Futura’s clients uses Epic as their electronic record management software. Although they were happy with the software, its monthly updates meant frequent trainings for both existing and new staff members. Furthermore, our client’s training budget was reduced by 50% due to cutbacks. To overcome this hurdle, our client asked us to implement an eLearning training program. Our client was able to realize savings on travel time, time off work, and even physical materials like workbooks just by switching from in-person training to eLearning, all while training at a higher than average volume, with a reduced budget. 

Our client was able to realize savings on travel time, time off work, and even physical materials like workbooks just by switching from in-person training to eLearning, all while training at a higher than average volume, with a reduced budget. 

Switching to eLearning doesn’t mean one size fits all. 

Switching to eLearning can come with hurdles when upper management isn’t already up to speed on its effectiveness. One of the misconceptions about eLearning is that it’s an out-of-the-box solution that’s applied to all organizations with no room for customization. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  

Your eLearning program should look and feel as unique as your organization. Look for a learning management system that is completely customizable. When it comes to eLearning, a provider is only as useful as their ability to be as flexible as needed to deliver the configuration that best matches your workflows and needs. Whether that means using your current internal systems or leveraging a new learning management system to meet your needs, you can be assured that no two eLearning programs are alike. Make sure your eLearning partner is willing to work closely with you to ensure your training needs are met and that your eLearning program is built to support team use today and beyond.  

Combatting brain drain is possible. 

Trends in healthcare are guaranteed to continue to fluctuate. As seasoned employees continue to leave for better opportunities and others go into early retirement, it’s important that key information doesn’t leave with them. As we move into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital leaders must remain vigilant in their quest to retain great talent, keep operating margins in check, and provide excellent patient care. One of the most effective strategies you can put on your roadmap this year is to partner with an experienced healthcare technology provider like Futura to develop and implement an eLearning program that’s built to last.  

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