Healthcare organizations are coming up short on many fronts, but staffing appears to be one area that needs a lot of work.
Modern Healthcare conducted an online survey last month looking at personnel and supply shortages such as those that have been reported in the magazine. The lack of sufficient caregivers was cited by the most respondents-63%-when asked which shortages have affected operations at their organizations. Troubles with drug supplies and hiring information technology employees were a distant second, each cited by 9%. Some 11% checked the "other" category, although many of those responses mentioned labor shortages, such as the lack of radiologists and pharmacists on the clinical side and the lack of experienced billers and coders on the administrative side. Several cited a reimbursement shortage, and one mentioned a dearth of available hospital beds.
The unscientific survey was conducted via Modern Healthcare's Web site-www.modernhealthcare.com-in partnership with ERC Dataplus, a Norwalk, Conn.-based polling and human resources technology firm.
Staffing problems also were mentioned most often-by 81% of respondents-as potentially the shortage most detrimental to patient care, followed by pharmaceutical shortages, 10%, and a lack of organs for transplant, 4%. At the same time, shortages of pharmaceuticals and vaccines were called the most exaggerated, cited by 35% of respondents. A lack of IT staffers was cited by a quarter of the respondents, perhaps reflecting the growing glut of computer professionals in the wake of the dot-com meltdown.
When asked about specific causes of the current nursing shortage at hospitals, 25% of respondents blamed the structure of the job, such as hours and staffing levels, and 24% cited the nature of the work or work environment. Another 11% mentioned compensation, and 7% cited a lack of respect from colleagues.
Complete survey results can be found at Modern Healthcare's Web site.