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There seems to be a worldwide scarcity of healthcare workers because to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is increasing. Despite making up less than 3% of the population in most nations, health personnel will contribute for around 14% of all Covid-19 cases worldwide by September 2020(O’Neal et al., 2021). Only one in five national nursing organizations showed an increase in nurses resigning, whereas 90% reported a rise in the number of nurses intending to leave after the pandemic was over. “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, there will be a worldwide shortage of 18 million health professionals, with nurses accounting for roughly half of this shortfall. Poor working conditions”, low pay and benefits, and an uneven distribution of available employees all combine to exacerbate the effects on individual health care providers and the health systems in which they operate. The following study examines literature on exacerbating healthcare workforce crisis as well as suggests the best methodology to assess the healthcare workforce issues.
By the emergence of COVID-19 and the resulting public health crisis, the global economy and financial markets have taken a significant damage according to Goodare (2017). The adoption of disease mitigation measures in many countries has resulted in major income reductions, a rise in unemployment, and disruptions in the transportation, service, and industrial sectors, among other consequences. The majority of governments throughout the world underestimated the threats of COVID-19’s rapid growth and responded largely in a crisis mode as a result. Despite the fact that disease outbreaks are projected to persist for some time, international action is required to save lives while also protecting economies throughout the globe.
According to Correia, Ramos and Bahten (2020), in order to cope with COVID-19, hospitals and health institutions throughout the United States have responded in remarkable ways. More than a million people have been infected as a result of outbreaks throughout the country, and hospitals are treating hundreds of thousands of patients in an effort to save lives and prevent the virus from spreading. As per Razu et al. (2021) measures such as putting up testing tents, expanding the number of beds in the general and intensive care units (ICUs), and creating COVID-19 units will be implemented in order to safeguard the health of other patients and hospital employees.
As a result of these issues, hospitals and health systems throughout the United States are under unprecedented financial hardship. According Kola et al. (2021), non-emergency treatments are being delayed or cancelled by an increasing number of Americans as they attempt to control the spread of the virus. As a consequence of the virus’s disruption of supply chains and subsequent increase in the cost of treating COVID-19 patients, medical equipment and materials for COVID-19 therapy are in very high demand. The COVID-19 has also been associated with major job losses, which has led in a rise in the number of uninsured people in the United States.
“In order to support the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals, several hospitals and health-care systems are offering basic services like as child care, transportation, and, in some cases lodging to individuals in the epidemic’s hotspot locations”. Razu et al., (2021) have implied that hospitals and their health-care systems are now under a tremendous financial pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The American Heart Association (AHA) undertook four studies to further identify and quantify these budgetary limitations. The American Hospital Association estimates that the nation’s hospitals and health systems will suffer losses of $202.6 billion over the course of four months, or an average of $50.7 billion per month during that period”.
As per “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (2020), the federal government responded quickly to provide aid, but more is still needed to complete the mission. Although some critics have claimed that hospitals were well-funded prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the truth is that many hospitals were already suffering financial problems at the time of the catastrophe”. “In anticipation of the pandemic, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that 40 to 50 percent of hospitals will have negative margins by 2025, citing concerns raised by experts about low reimbursement rates from government payers”.
Informal workers’ salaries are expected to have plummeted by 60 percent in the first month of the crisis, according to projections. Africa and the Americas have had an 81 percent drop, Asia and the Pacific have experienced a 21.6 percent decrease, while Europe and Central Asia have experienced a 70 percent decrease according to the report presented by The Centres for Disease Control (2020). According to the World Bank, more than 1.5 billion employees in the informal sector (the most vulnerable segment of the workforce) out of a total global workforce of two billion and a global workforce of 3.3 billion have been severely impacted by the pandemic’s economic catastrophe, which has affected a total global workforce of 3.3 billion. This is due to the efficiency of lockdown methods as well as their effectiveness in hard-hit industries.
“Despite this, the proportion of workers in countries where workplace closures are advised or enforced has decreased from 81 to 68 percent in the last two weeks”. “The number of workplace closures in other nations has increased, while the number of workplace closures in the United States has decreased from the prior estimate of 81 percent in the second edition of the monitor”. There are over 436 million enterprises in the globe that are at high risk of being severely disrupted. “People employed in wholesale and retail, manufacturing (111 million), accommodation and food services (51 million), real estate (42 million), and other commercial activities (232 million) are among the industries most affected by the present economic slump” (Rae et al. 2020).
In order to assist in the resuscitation of the economy, it is necessary to enhance employment policies and institutions, as well as social safety nets that are more resourced and more extensive. International collaboration on stimulus packages and debt relief measures is vital for ensuring a long-term recovery. Alternatively, the tripartite agreement on international labour standards may be used as a model.
“As the pandemic and the job crisis worsen, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent,” said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization. “For millions of healthcare workers, a lack of money means they will go hungry, will be in danger, and will have no future (Health Management Associates, 2020). Many healthcare organisations are barely able to keep their heads above the waterline these days. Their savings account is depleted, and they have no credit accessible to them. Those are the true folks who put forth the effort.
“It is currently estimated that employment would decrease by 10.5 percent from pre-crisis levels, resulting in a loss of 305 million full-time employees (assuming a 48-hour working week). The prior estimate estimated the number of full-time workers at 195 million, representing a 6.7 percent decrease from the current estimate”. Because lockdown measures have been prolonged time and time again, this has occurred (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2020).
Regional circumstances have worsened in all major regional groups, including the United States. It is expected that working hours in the Americas would have reduced by 12.4 percent in Q2 (compared to pre-crisis levels) and by 11.8 percent in Europe and Central Asia. All of the other geographical categories have forecasted growth rates in the 9.5 percent range as well.
According to the World Bank, more than 1.5 billion employees in the informal sector (the most vulnerable segment of the workforce) out of a total global workforce of two billion and a global workforce of 3.3 billion have been severely impacted by the pandemic’s economic catastrophe, which has affected a total global workforce of 3.3 billion (Razu et al. 2021). This is due to the efficiency of lockdown methods as well as their effectiveness in hard-hit industries.
Informal workers’ salaries are expected to have plummeted by 60 percent in the first month of the crisis, according to projections. Africa and the Americas have had an 81 percent drop, Asia and the Pacific have experienced a 21.6 percent decrease, while Europe and Central Asia have experienced a 70 percent decrease (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2020). These workers and their families will be unable to support themselves and their families if they do not have access to alternative sources of income.
During COVID-19, the health and care system had a significant shortage of personnel. This issue has been exacerbated by pandemic-related stress, which has resulted in individuals working long hours in challenging settings without adequate mental health support. Prior to the implementation of COVID-19, the health and care system was experiencing a severe lack of competent health and care personnel (Park, Kim, and Roth, 2020). At any one time, there were 120,000 available positions in social services, but the number of people requesting assistance from local authorities has grown. Increasing staffing ratios have been progressively increasing in recent years, despite an increase in the number of people getting home care and a decrease in the amount of time spent on home visits (Cohen and van der Meulen Rodgers, 2020). As for job openings in social care, they were almost comparable to those in healthcare and far greater than those in the whole country of Britain, according to the latest figures.
Despite progress, governments, donors, and partners still have a lot of work to do to address the global shortage of health-care professionals. Increased investment is necessary in countries where there are significant gaps in pre-service training for nurses and other health professionals to ensure that governments can educate enough health workers to meet the demand (Elbarbary et al., 2020). Nurses should be given the opportunity to advance their knowledge and abilities via training or specialist programs, as well. Improvements in nursing councils and regulatory bodies may also assist to enhance the administration and supervision of present personnel, which may help to address concerns like as burnout and staff retention that may arise. Nurses and other health-care workers save lives daily, and their efforts are lauded across the world. Governments and donors must work together to strengthen the health-care systems that support these critical experts (Behera, Praveen, and Behera, 2020). Within hours of the pandemic outbreak, it is critical to address and resolve the rising scarcity of health-care professionals on the ground.
As a result of the pandemic, not only has the need for more training capacity been emphasized, but it has also been highlighted the need for enhanced emergency preparedness across the global health workforce and throughout health-care delivery systems. Health crises and other disasters of major scope should be anticipated and planned for by government agencies in advance (Nagesh and Chakraborty, 2020). One of the most important aspects of any plan of this kind is to guarantee that the proper staff and expertise are accessible, as well as that health-care professionals are safeguarded in the appropriate way. Global health professionals estimate that a COVID-19 virus-related pandemic would erupt around the time of the 2020 presidential election in the United States, which will take place in December of the following year (Bader et al., 2019). Safety and well-being of health-care workers, the formation of health-care workforce teams, the development of the capacity and tactical deployment of health-care systems and human resources are all among the important suggestions that have been provided.
While there is no immediate need for long-term interventions to increase the number of health workers available during an emergency, improvements in compensation and workplace conditions can provide much-needed motivation, encouragement, and protection to those who are employed in a field where they are constantly exposed to risks to their physical or mental well-being, as well as to those who are employed in a field where they are constantly exposed to risks to their physical or mental well-being (Elbarbary et al., 2020). The inclusion of contingency plans that include budgets that contribute to overtime pay to motivate employees who work longer hours during crises, a potential danger allowance, and comprehensive health insurance for health care workers in areas where such coverage is not currently available could be required in the event of a pandemic or other public health crisis. Aside from that, the COVID-19 epidemic has pushed governments throughout the world to reevaluate how they deploy health workers in the case of a public health emergency. Nursing professionals working at the community level may be called upon to help in delivering basic health services, monitoring and referring patients, and aiding with contact tracing and referrals as part of this endeavor. In the case of an emergency, members of the community may be trained to help in non-clinical positions in institutions or residential facilities.
In order to build a stronger health workforce that is better equipped to react to emergencies, meticulous planning for both enough health worker protection and adequate and effective deployments before and during a pandemic is required. Improved health outcomes and more public confidence in the health system may be achieved by investing in the health workforce’s availability, competence, reactivity, and efficiency (Park, Kim, and Roth, 2020). To build confidence in a health system, it is essential that people have access to health care and that their main interactions with health care providers be positive.
Stakeholders have been tasked with focusing on two primary objectives:
In order to ensure the long-term viability of the global health workforce, donors should begin investing in health worker education and training as soon as possible (O’Neal et al., 2021). This is essential to reducing the worldwide shortage of health professionals and strengthening health systems.
As a second point, governments and other health sector stakeholders should incorporate the health staff in their disaster preparation planning today and in the future. Health professionals should have access to adequate PPE, overtime compensation, and incentives, and emergency solutions to address urgent requests for services to avoid burnout and attrition, among other things.
To provide a safe working environment for healthcare professionals and safe patient care, healthcare institutions must maintain adequate staffing levels.
When dealing with personnel shortages, it is vital to maximise actions to safeguard HCP, patients, and visitors at all times. Staffing shortages may be addressed in a variety of ways according to the CDC’s mitigation techniques (Cohen and van der Meulen Rodgers, 2020). “Conventional plans are supplemented with contingency and crisis capacity strategies, which should be studied and executed consecutively (i.e., implementing contingency strategies before crisis strategies)”.
To conclude, it can be stated that When COVID-19 took place, there was a serious lack of workers in the health and care system. Because of pandemic-related stress, people have been working long hours in difficult environments without access to proper mental health care, exacerbating the situation. A major shortage of qualified health and care professionals existed in the health and care system prior to the adoption of COVID-19. Prior to and during a pandemic, rigorous preparation for proper health worker protection as well as enough and successful deployments are essential in order to establish a stronger health workforce that really is better ready to respond to crises. Improved health outcomes and increased public trust in the health system may be accomplished through increasing the availability, competency, responsiveness, and efficiency of the health personnel, among other things. It is critical for individuals to have access to health care and for their primary contacts with health-care practitioners to be positive to develop trust in a health-care system. Healthcare organizations must maintain proper staffing numbers in order to offer a safe working environment for healthcare workers as well as safe patient treatment.
Bader, L., Mukhalalati, B., Awaisu, A., Tofade, T. and Bates, I., 2019. Using a global framework for health workforce development: National case studies on continuing professional development in pharmacy. MedEdPublish, 8.
Behera, D., Praveen, D. and Behera, M.R., 2020. Protecting Indian health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 9(9), p.4541.
Cohen, J. and van der Meulen Rodgers, Y., 2020. Contributing factors to personal protective equipment shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventive medicine, p.106263.
Correia, M.I.T.D., Ramos, R.F. and Bahten, L.C.V., 2020. The surgeons and the COVID-19 pandemic. Revista do Colégio Brasileiro de Cirurgiões, 47.
Elbarbary, N.S., Dos Santos, T.J., de Beaufort, C., Agwu, J.C., Calliari, L.E. and Scaramuzza, A.E., 2020. COVID?19 outbreak and pediatric diabetes: Perceptions of health care professionals worldwide. Pediatric diabetes, 21(7), pp.1083-1092.
Goodare, P., 2017. Literature review: Why do we continue to lose our nurses?. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, The, 34(4), pp.50-56.
Health Management Associates, 2020. COVID-19 Impact on Medicaid, Marketplace, and the Uninsured, by State. Available at: https://www.healthmanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/HMA-Estimates-of-COVID-Impact-on-Coverage-public-version-for-April-3-830-CT.pdf [Accessed on: 25.12.21].
Kola, L., Kohrt, B.A., Hanlon, C., Naslund, J.A., Sikander, S., Balaji, M., Benjet, C., Cheung, E.Y.L., Eaton, J., Gonsalves, P. and Hailemariam, M., 2021. COVID-19 mental health impact and responses in low-income and middle-income countries: reimagining global mental health. The Lancet Psychiatry.
Nagesh, S. and Chakraborty, S., 2020. Saving the frontline health workforce amidst the COVID-19 crisis: Challenges and recommendations. Journal of global health, 10(1).
O’Neal, L., Heisler, M., Mishori, R. and Haar, R.J., 2021. Protecting providers and patients: results of an Internet survey of health care workers’ risk perceptions and ethical concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. International journal of emergency medicine, 14(1), pp.1-11.
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