The 5 Biggest Problems in Health Care’s Future (and How to Fight Back)
Health care is one of the biggest industries in the United States.
In a broad sense, that includes everyone from an actuary at an insurance company to a doctor working in the country’s most prestigious hospital.
Right now, health care in general has a huge potential for growth in every sector — especially when it comes to CTE graduates.
Naturally, doctors are in demand. But so are nurses, phlebotomy technicians, patient care technicians, medical office assistants, and more.
But while their job prospects are great, health care still has its share of foreseeable issues.
So what do health care professionals with CTE certifications need to prepare for?
These are the five biggest problems in health care's future:
- Lack of health care workers
- Long working hours
- More people need health care
- People are living longer
- Extreme costs for advanced degrees
Here we'll go into the details of these upcoming problems, and also offer some solutions to them!
1. Lack of Health Care Workers
The fact that health care has so many open positions is a double-edged sword.
It’s great because CTE graduates in health science can quickly and easily start good-paying careers.
It’s bad because those graduates probably won’t have as many coworkers as they should.
Almost every health care company is hiring — but this hiring has four big problems:
- 36% of health care companies report higher turnover in 2016 than 2017
- On average, it took 49% longer to hire a health care professional in 2017 than 2016
- 80% of companies require 2-5 years of experience to start
- 64% of companies say they’re paying more for new hires in 2017 than 2016
The first and second problems point to the amount of stress and work that a single health care professional has to do in their careers.
The third and fourth problems reflect health care companies that aren’t willing to train their new hires — they want people who can show up on the first day and go.
This creates a complicated employment cycle. It encourages young workers to apply, but then bars them from entry with experience requirements.
In addition, it shows that companies strive to complete larger quantities of work with smaller teams.
The results are a few health care workers who have found the career they want for the rest of their lives, but they don’t have the peers to even out their workload.
What’s the solution?
The best option for CTE students right now is to continue plugging away at their studies.
Regardless of hiring trends, they’ll still need the same certifications and qualifications to start their careers.
The solution for companies is to invest more in first-time employees.
They can do this through on-the-job introductions, internships, co-ops, and other strategies that prepare new health care workers for their careers.
There’s also a third solution for health science CTE teachers.
No matter what you teach, make sure your students know what to expect in 2017’s job market.
Hopefully they’ll find a job quickly. And hopefully it’ll come with plenty of peers.
But they should be prepared for hard work. It’ll probably be more challenging than any other job they’ve had.
2. Long Working Hours
Because of the shortage in health care workers, those who are hired will probably work longer hours than they expect.
This is somewhat expected for exceptionally high-demand professions like nursing.
But it can also come as a shock to many, especially if they’re only used to working part-time. The jump from a few hours in retail to a 12-hour shift at a hospital would be a challenge for anyone.
In fact, these hours can stretch even longer, depending on what a CTE graduate wants to pursue.
From a health care company’s perspective, these long hours are important to the company’s long-term survival.
This is especially true for companies that are currently understaffed.
So when a company only has a handful of employees, they need those employees to work longer to make up for the workforce shortage.
That leads to longer hours for individual employees, which can contribute to employee burnout.
Then, those employees leave their current company, which contributes to its turnover rate, and the company has to re-hire a new employee (who hopefully has experience).
While this is just one of many possible scenarios, it perfectly illustrates the vicious cycle of company needs and employee limits.
The company always wants more, but individual employees can only do so much (and work so long) in a day.
What’s the solution?
To combat problems like burnout and fatigue, CTE students need to learn how to communicate with their superiors at any health care company.
Open communication can relieve stress, improve productivity, and spur positive change.
But if an employee keeps their disagreements to themselves, the company can’t improve.
There’s always an element of discomfort when an employee has to voice concerns with a company representative. But by doing it in a professional, mature way, CTE graduates can quickly improve their jobs.
It’s also smart for health care workers to invest in comfortable shoes with thick soles. Many of them will probably be on their feet a lot throughout the day.
Companies can alleviate this issue by respecting and maintaining communication with individual employees. Endurance isn’t universal, and while one CTE graduate could work for 16 hours, others may have to tap out after 12.
CTE instructors can help students by telling them about strategies to cope with stress, fatigue, and burnout.
This will give students the mental tools they need to launch their careers with less work-related stress.
It just might save their careers one day.
3. More People Need Health Care
This has been a persistent problem in health care for the past several decades. More people than ever need medical attention.
This is partly because there are just more people in the world than there were in previous years.
Even if the rate of medical need stayed the same, there would still be more people who need medical attention as the population increased.
Unfortunately, the percentage of Americans living unhealthy lifestyles has dramatically increased.
That means the US has more people and a higher percentage of them require medical attention.
This is the main reason there’s such a shortage of health care employees at companies throughout the United States. In general, there are too many patients to treat for the number of qualified nurses and technicians.
On the plus side, that means the country needs more CTE graduates from health science. They’ll be in demand, but they’ll be responsible for a lot of people in need.
What’s the solution?
Unfortunately, there’s very little that CTE students can do to alleviate this problem.
There’s not a lot that companies can do either.
This problem is almost exclusively based on how an individual decides to live.
If they choose an unhealthy lifestyle, then they’ll be repeat patients who constantly seek to treat symptoms instead of curing ailments.
If they choose a healthy lifestyle, then they won’t make more work for nurses, technicians, and doctors.
The best thing a health care professional can do is to encourage patients to life healthy lives.
While many patients won’t listen, it could still be enough to save a few lives.
And speaking of living…
4. People Are Living Longer
Strictly speaking, living long is a great advantage of modern society.
People have more time to pursue their dreams, spend time with loved ones, and be happy.
But the health care industry is the force behind these long lives.
Combinations of checkups, emergency response, pharmaceuticals, and knowledge all contribute to individual Americans living well into their 80s and 90s these days.
In terms of human achievement, that’s a great milestone to reach.
In terms of health care, it could be catastrophic.
The shortage of health care professionals already spells bad news for geriatric care as 20% of the US population will be older than 65 by 2030.
Now, we could start seeing individuals live 15 times as long.
If the US isn’t prepared for populations 65 and older, it probably isn’t ready for multiple people to make it to 1000 years old.
Ironically, the problem becomes exponentially worse as medical science advances. The longer people live, the more health care professionals we need to care for them.
At some point, health care has to catch up to advances in medicine.
Until then, the issue of extreme longevity is a minefield of ethical and practical decisions from health care professionals.
What’s the solution?
The fact that people live long, healthy lives is a major benefit in modern society.
But for health care workers, it means more patients, longer hours, and advanced medical knowledge.
CTE graduates can do the most by keeping up with the rapid pace of medical advancements.
Techniques, materials, and medicines change almost on a daily basis today. There’s always someone researching a new way to perform some procedure with the goal of extending human life even further.
These advancements are crucial for health care professionals to know so they can give patients the best quality care.
They’re even important for clerical workers — like medical office assistants — so they can properly document care given to patients.
Health care companies can do their part by actively keeping their employees up to date.
Seminars, webinars, lectures, and advanced educational opportunities are all smart ways to keep a medical staff sharp and on its toes.
CTE instructors can help by branching out and offering their knowledge throughout their communities.
Even if it’s a volunteer opportunity, instructors can inform students, professionals, and the public with their expertise.
Combined, CTE graduates, companies, and instructors can keep health care professionals up-to-date with the lightning-fast changes in medicine.
But there’s still one more big problem for health care professionals — especially those who have the ambition to do more.
5. Extreme Costs for Advanced Degrees
It’s no secret that post-secondary education is expensive.
Whether students want to pursue CTE or an MD, they’ll almost certainly need financial aid to start their careers.
This is especially true as the cost of tuition continues to skyrocket in the United States.
For many CTE students, they may stop their formal education after they earn their certifications.
But some use CTE as a stepping stone to further education. They may start a CTE health science curriculum in high school, go on to pre-med academics at a four-year university, and then jump to a doctoral program.
Today, that means they’ll spend most of their lives in debt.
But they’ll also be the most qualified people in the world to save lives.
This tradeoff requires a lot of thought from a health care student or professional.
Fortunately, they have some options at their fingertips.
What’s the solution?
Right now, the most common way CTE graduates get advanced degrees is through financial aid.
The best way they can mitigate those costs is by earning scholarships.
Health science scholarships are common for four-year universities. They apply to all kinds of demographics, specialties, and goals.
So no matter who you are as a health science student, you can advance your education without going into tremendous debt.
Health care employers can assist with this as well. Since health companies tend to be large, profitable institutions, they can offer tuition reimbursement for employees who want to take the next educational step.
This cost is still extreme — but it’s much easier for a company to accommodate that expense than an individual health care worker.
CTE instructors can help as well. They can tell students about their personal experience in the health care field before switching to teaching.
They can talk about where they feel the industry is headed, the outlook for different careers, and more.
Most importantly, they can stress that you don’t have to have a Ph.D to succeed in the health field.
CTE graduates can always pursue greater education. But it’s not essential for someone to help others or succeed in health careers.
CTE instructors are in prime positions to discuss advantages and disadvantages of additional education. That shapes each student’s understanding of what they need to do to achieve their personal goals.
With that in mind, CTE instructors don’t just train nurses or technicians. They’re also the first teachers of doctors and chiefs of medicine.
It all depends on what works best for the student.
Are You Training the Health Care Professionals of Tomorrow?
Are you a CTE instructor training the health care workers of tomorrow?
They all have bright futures in the health field, regardless of the role they choose.
But they’ll also have their fair share of challenges.
You can make sure they’re ready to meet those challenges with the right teaching curriculum.
That’s why we offer HealthCenter21 to all CTE health science teachers! It’s designed to back you up so you can teach the way you want without spending tons of time on planning, grading, and other tedium.
Are you ready to teach the health professionals of tomorrow?
Start your free trial of HealthCenter21 today!