Challenges in Managing the human workforce at hospitals,post -pandemic
Around December 2019, an outbreak of the novel coronavirus occurred in China. To date, this has spread to various countries including India, and caused irreparable damage to people’s health and economy. Particularly the healthcare system is the one that underwent major changes in this pandemic.
As the health care system prepared itself to face the challenges created by COVID 19 pandemic, it is more important to safeguard and maintain the human workforce at hospitals. Lots of pressure was on the quality management at the health care system at various levels during this pandemic which increased the physical and psychological challenges faced by them drastically. Long and irregular work hours, continuous performance evaluation contributes to the increased stress of the workforce.
COVID 19 Impacts on The Workforce :
A recent study on the impact of the pandemic on the health care workforce mainly focused on, decision-making capability of them at various stages including balancing their personal and work life, hospital capacity management, care for the severely affected patients and also aligning the patient’s needs with their family. Various other impacts include,
- Staff’s struggle with the patients who don’t want to be quarantined.
- Lack of rest in between their heavy work schedule.
- Lack of protective equipment for staff working in the health care system made them worry about working in an infected environment that led to anxiety.
- Thus people working in such an environment had the fear of spreading it to their family eventually.
- Also fear of being isolated from family and others for a long time.
- Staff who worked regularly with interrupted resting hours were found to have a considerable rate of depression.
- Especially women who work in frontline roles are most severely affected by the risk of anxiety and distress.
- Burnout is one of the major issues faced by the workforce. It describes a state of exhaustion both physically and mentally that can adversely affect patient care. Burnout may also lead to the absence of a workforce on an unplanned hour which will result in medical errors in the patient care unit.
Strategies To Reduce The Impact On The Workforce
- Helping the staff on early intervention by telling the challenges they might face especially the vulnerable staff should be given additional care.
- Strong human resource management should be provided to keep track of the health care workforce.
- Major changes can be made in the shift system by alternating the schedule and giving them an uninterrupted rest between the working hours.
- Developing online platforms to provide medical services will reduce the pressure on the hospitals and staff.
- Other than the hospital staff, security staff can be appointed to maintain the aggressive patients who refuse to quarantine.
- The staff should be given complete knowledge regarding the safety equipment provided to them, which will reduce their anxiety regarding their family’s safety.
- Accommodation facilities were made available to staff where they can isolate themselves during the long work hours or in times of need.
- Supplies of basic provisions like food, water, and toiletries for staff
- Health care consulting firms can provide adequate knowledge of stress management and lend them help to handle stressful situations.
- Organizational strategies should be made to provide online classes to teach the staff regarding psychological management and counselors can be arranged to help them in distress.
Thus in these exceptional situations, there is a pressing need to ensure that they do not cause a long lasting effect on the health care workforce. Although their presence is much important now than ever, it’s also important to care them right for the future indeed. Thus proper care should be given and operations management should be done to maintain the health care workforce post-pandemic.