Human Resources Challenges


Besides consumables and physical capital, human resources form the other principle health system inputs. In the context of healthcare, human resource is defined as the clinical and non-clinical staff who are tasked with individual and public health intervention. Therefore, a health system’s ability to deliver its functions is dependent on the motivation, skills, and knowledge of its human resources. However, healthcare human resources is laden with challenges and pressures, for instance, too many healthcare reform initiatives, payment reform and price competition, the need to deliver high quality services as well as recruiting and retaining qualified staff that meet the mandatory staffing ratios (Wood and Els 2000, p. 112).

 In the Latin America, there is an immense nursing shortfall, which requires recruitment and retention of qualified nursing staff. Most of the countries in the region have less than 30 medical staff per 10,000 people. This challenge has been occasioned by the rapid growth in the healthcare sector, population explosion, and staff turnover to look for work in the developed regions with better pay. To improve public health in the Latin American region, talent management initiatives need urgent addressing to ensure that the workforce is aligned with the challenge (Goodwin, Reinhold and Iles 2006, p. 183). Moreover, the healthcare system should identify the gaps between the existing staff and the healthcare requirements anticipated in the future.

Further, the players in the healthcare sector can build leadership bench strength and more formal succession planning programs to assist in improving the public health in the region. This could be coupled with a breakdown of department silos to ensure talent visibility across the region. The human resource leaders in the region need to create and implement proactive initiatives that will reduce the cost of healthcare, staff and retain qualified nurses (Kanchanachitra et al. 2011, p. 780). Such a plan can only work well with better technologies and processes that will enable business intelligence, workforce scheduling, and planning as well as talent management. 

Moreover, the plan should comply with the new healthcare standards. The advancement of technology would require career development and continual training of human resources to maintain standards of care and ensure their effectiveness. Embracing technological processes should be mandatory in managing healthcare human resources to ensure effective workforce planning solutions and talent management thereby assist in the identification, development and retention of the right healthcare workers. Further, the plan should enable the healthcare players in the region to focus on the quality of life initiatives. The staff to execute the plan are nursing administrators, educators, and coordinators.

The healthcare staff required for the plan execution should work in compliance with quality standards, which would ensure a consistent level of safety with constant monitoring of patient safety records and performance. The staffing needs will include the composition of the health workforce with regard to training levels and skill categories (Kanchanachitra et al. 2011, p. 770). Therefore, new options for in-service training and education of the plan’s healthcare staff to ensure that the workforce is prepared to meet the region’s present and future needs and the success of the entire healthcare system.

A budget needs to be set aside to strike a balance between nurse staffing and patient needs. Moreover, the budget should assist in meeting the plan and management of supplemental healthcare staffing needs. Further, clear and effective communication would be a crucial factor to consider in the staffing needs to ensure accurate reporting of staffing requirements and vital patient information (Wood and Els 2000, p. 123). Workload management would also be considered in the plan to ensure accurate resource distribution. Additionally, scheduling and management of rapid needs will also be incorporated in the plan through healthcare staffing partnership with agencies.

The level of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction from the nursing staff will determine the success of the plan. The team members will each play a crucial role to ensure such success with nurses being trained and motivated to play the role of organizers of healthcare. The administrators and educators will engage in activities to satisfy the nursing staff through redefined roles to identify new satisfiers. The human resource administrators will play the role of creating supportive and flexible benefits and policies for the nursing staff to improve public healthcare (Wood and Els 2000, p. 117). Moreover, the administrators will work to craft new benefits and remuneration for nursing staff and motivate them from providing poor care or having a negative attitude while on the job. Other strategies that the team members might use to ensure staff retention include housing, opportunities for job rotation, and infrastructure. Other key players in the team will be the government and private sector, who will work to initiate as well as implement creative solutions to integrate, educate and retain the diverse and rapidly changing healthcare workforce.

While managing the new staff, human resource and leadership challenges are expected to occur. These challenges include preparing the region’s youth for the healthcare workforce. The youths are always impatient with regard to job satisfaction thus forming a big chunk of staff turnover to look for better pay elsewhere therefore presenting a challenge to addressing the nursing shortfall (O’Neal 2008, p. 3). Moreover, their education and skills must always remain attractive and relevant to their profession and if the government does not play its role of reforming the education system then the healthcare system will experience a chronic staff shortage in the long term. The experienced nursing staff is also leaving the workforce thereby posing a challenge as there are fewer experts to train the new staff to the required standards. Further, the disruptive technological changes pose a threat to instilling leadership to the new staff (O’Neil 2008, p. 4). Other challenges include innovation and globalization, which are making it hard to catch up with the developed countries.

The models that will be used to overcome the human resource and leadership challenges include, patient-focused care model, futuristic model, which are performance-based care models. The model advocates for nurses to know their tasks, manage their workload as well as provide for development and growth for support staff (Kakuma et al., 2011, p. 1654). The model further advocates for nurses to embrace delegation in addition to shared governance as a form of empowerment. In successful delegation model, the nurses must be allowed time to provide patients the benefit of their learned skills and knowledge. The leadership needs to create an environment whereby delegation is embraced and valued with positive outcomes being rewarded. The futuristic model advocates for an interaction between healthcare providers and patients thus reflecting an evolving and openly interactive system with a continuous exchange between clinicians and patients (Kakuma et al., 2011, p. 1661).

The effectiveness of the models will be determined by the outcome in the nursing environment in the Latin American region with regard to staffing and retaining healthcare workers. Moreover, the models must be able to strike a balance between financial viability, staff satisfaction, organizational effectiveness and quality as well as supply and demand for healthcare staff. The models should also be able to depict forces that touch on patients’ experience and the structures the support healthcare delivery (Kakuma et al., 2011, p. 1663). They should promote and sustain staff development programs for continued competence and build capacity in human resource management.

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