A local organization is working to address the healthcare worker shortage throughout the Finger Lakes.
“We know we have 1,200 beds that could be filled, that can’t be accommodated because we don’t have the healthcare workforce,” said Melissa Wendland, director of strategic initiatives for Common Ground Health.
“We look at a lot of data, a lot of trends, and work with community partners to understand how together we can improve the health of the population,” Wendland said.
Local organization working to find ways to address healthcare worker shortages (video)
Wendland’s organization did a survey of healthcare employers across 27 counties in New York.
They found that the biggest threat to the health care delivery system is the ability to attract and retain staff.
Wendland explained, “It’s not just the hospitals that are struggling. We are looking at people trying to receive services in their homes, such as home health aides. We’re looking at long-term care struggling with LPNs, CNAs, RNs.”
Turnover rate at local hospitals is high
Common Ground says the long-term care sector is most affected by workforce shortages, with almost 4,000 openings and a 71% turnover rate for home health aides and personal care aides, according to the report.
“We haven’t been able to keep pace with the demands of training, skills or compensation,” Wendland said.
To be successful, employees say they need support
Morgan Lanich is a Patient Care Technician, so she helps nurses with patient care.
Lanich is currently in school working to become a registered nurse.
She feels she was able to be successful because she found a good balance.
“I think it’s just having a really good support team at home,” Lanich said. “Last year was really stressful working full-time, school full-time, kids. Thompson Health has made it easier this semester with not making me work full time and paying for my school I don’t have the stress of worrying about that at all.”
She encourages those looking to leave the industry to give it their best shot before making a decision.
“Just looking for other opportunities within the healthcare system,” Lanich said. “If you don’t feel like your current employer is working with you and giving you what you need I’m not opposed to looking elsewhere to see if somebody else is willing to compensate you in the way you feel that you need to be.”
Regional Healthcare Workforce Consortium meeting again soon
So, what can be done to address the worker shortage?
“What we are doing here in the Finger Lakes is creating opportunities for under-served and minority populations to have access to education, to expanding skills, to expanding their training,” Wendland said. “At the same time, we’re looking to support them so they can successfully complete their training.”
The Regional Healthcare Workforce Consortium meets next in October, where they plan to discuss challenges healthcare providers face and what can be done.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to email@example.com.