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Shortages in Health Care Workforce


Workforce shortages in the healthcare industry remain one of the key concerns affecting the efficient delivery of healthcare services. The demand for medical professionals has been steadily increasing over the recent past. This pattern is not expected to change anytime in the near future. The healthcare workforce shortage is attributed to various factors. Some of these factors include a lack of desire, passion, and funds to pursue any healthcare profession. Therefore, this aspect generates tremendous stress for both the available healthcare workforce and the patients who are forced to wait for long periods of time before they receive any form of attention. For instance, the past three years in the healthcare industry have presented various challenges across the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Canada, thousands of people have been visiting healthcare facilities, which intensify the risks healthcare workers face when contracting the coronavirus (Ferguson & Williams, 2020).

Nature of the issue in Canada or globally, prevalence, and impact

The financial requirements that lead to the acquisition of the skill are high and not within the affordability range of most people. It takes longer to be trained in healthcare than many other professions. As a result, this elongated period of time means that the fees will also take longer before they are completed. The learner, in this case, has to allocate various hours on a daily basis to study and establish better chances of passing the course. Healthcare students are sometimes forced to find a part time job to balance their full-time studies to support their families (Ferguson & Williams, 2020). This aspect makes it even more challenging to attain the best possible training for the student would get. The prospect of obtaining student loans to obtain healthcare training to establish a chance to work is not a path that many people are keen to follow.

Moreover, acceptance into the programs in healthcare institutions is a challenging prospect for many individuals. The number of tutors in the institutions is limited, and as a result, the institutions are forced to adjust the number of students they have in their ranks to ensure that quality training is provided. Therefore, despite qualifying on every aspect needed to fit into the course, some applications are rejected. Such patterns increase the levels of despair among the students who work immensely hard to obtain all the pre-requisite grades. Such students opt out of other courses despite healthcare being their more passionate profession.

Additionally, the environment in this industry is often considered stressful. The requirement is that as a medical professional, services are always in demand in healthcare facilities as people often visit as they seek various services. Given that majority of the healthcare facilities are not adequately staffed, the pressure to serve the many patients is high, and this creates a stressful work environment. Healthcare professionals, similar to any other workforce, require adequate rest to refresh themselves. However, this is not the case for most of these institutions. As a result, the tendency to administer poor treatment and other clinical mistakes increases (Sturdivant et al., 2020). Therefore, the prospect of leading a daily career that is highly stressful and often chaotic emanating from the high demand for the services offered by healthcare professionals contributes to the decision by many individuals to shy away from the healthcare industry in pursuit of other better career alternatives.

Required resources

Various resources are required to facilitate the transformation of the healthcare issue. All the stakeholders are essential, including the institutions of higher learning, healthcare employees, and funding institutions, especially on student loans, among others. The success of the transformation is not realized when the stakeholders within the industry work together. Moreover, the time allocated and the funding should be structured in a way that optimum training is obtained and the funds affordable among all the interested students.

Literature on shortages in the healthcare workforce

Effective leaders are essential in ensuring that work is practiced within the required levels. Therefore, for one to be an effective healthcare leader, efficiency in communication is one of the best attributes. Failure to adopt efficient communication it becomes easier to misinterpret key issues, and this leads to confusion. Such patterns cause immense challenges in the workplace because it leads to chaotic work performances. Moreover, healthcare leaders need to have immense listening skills. This attribute ensures that they understand the opinions of their subordinates and work towards making them operational within the facility (Collinson, 2006). The subordinate staff should be in a position to engage in an honest conversation with the healthcare workers. It is this kind of engagement that contributes to attaining the desired changes within the industry.

Additionally, mutual respect between healthcare leaders and their colleagues provides a better avenue to have work accomplished in the desired manner and timeframe. More often, subordinates lose passion for work when they do not receive fair treatment from their superiors. Therefore, through an understanding of both sides, it becomes possible to come to a mutual agreement. The prospect of having effective healthcare leaders in various institutions aids in obtaining solutions to the various challenges experienced in the industry (Domagała et al., 2018). Understanding and adapting to the highly-paced work environment, innovative high levels and allowance for different opinions increases the chance to become an effective leader. This aspect contributes to better performance from the other employees.

The determinants and dimensions of wellness impacted by shortages in the healthcare workforce

Based on the long duration and the high costs required for one to undergo the training process to become a medical professional, most people, despite intense interest in healthcare, prefer to be involved in other career industries. The issues of fewer funds and a shorter training period often channel people to different career paths. Therefore, there are some solutions that help with this issue. For instance, donations from institutions help in funding the less privileged individuals with the ability and interest to study healthcare-related courses. One of the institutions that have done this in the past is Parkview Medical Center and Parkview Foundation in Colorado. This institution provided a million dollars in a donation to less privileged students in favor of pursuing a profession in healthcare (Sturdivant et al., 2020). This donation does not only act as an inspiration to these students to pursue their desired course, but it also facilitates them. It is also noted that the school fees for students are expensive, and so does the facilitating materials, such as books and equipment. As a result, not everyone has the ability to purchase them while juggling various aspects of their lives, including daily expenses. The donations would go a long way by offsetting student expenses and school fees.

Moreover, the limited intake within the healthcare institutions cuts short the desires and input of the students. Despite the students receiving the qualifications to be accepted into the medical course of their choice, the institutions do not have the ability to take beyond a certain number of students. Therefore, these slots should be increased as this provides a solution to the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country (Golinowska & Sowada, 2018). The limited slots often leave out a large number of students who desire to become medical professionals. As a result, such individuals become disgruntled and seek other professions. Increasing the available opportunities to absorb more students fosters the intake of students, and in the end, the personnel in the health industry is increased. However, these additional slots should be supported by increasing the number of tutors within the facilities to ensure that the training standards are retained at high levels.

Additionally, the prevailing stressful work environment is another problem that is identified that stops some individuals from venturing into a profession in healthcare. The employee shortages in healthcare, the existing labor force is forced to work for long hours to cover the demand for their services (Collinson, 2006). This aspect was realized at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when thousands of Canadians sought medical care throughout the country as they awaited to be served by the few medical professionals in the various healthcare facilities. Therefore, to resolve this issue, healthcare leaders and their employees should come to an understanding of ways to make the workplace a better environment. This approach is important because not all the facilities across the country have the same challenges.

Possible obstacles to healthcare workforce shortages

The solution of providing funds to less privileged students presents some obstacles. One of these is the allocation of funds to each of the students. Identifying the amount and value that should be assigned to each is one area that poses challenges. The apportioning of donations and grants should be carried out in a fair manner because the objective is the same for all the individuals involved. Therefore, there should be no form of discrimination whatsoever, be it in gender, sexuality, religious affiliation, or race. Therefore, the allocation of these funds should be in equal proportion for all the beneficiaries (Barriball et al., 2015).

Additionally, the solution of adding more student allocations causes a trickling effect of hiring more teachers. As a result, the facilities in these institutions, such as equipment and classrooms, are not increased in time. The outcome of this is that the classrooms will be highly crowded, and the prospect of sharing the available equipment reduces the quality of training. The initial pattern of experiencing more exposure to the tutors is minimized due to the large number of students served by the tutors. Despite increasing the number of tutors, the workload will also be high because the tutors will be forced to work extra time to create adequate space, especially in key areas such as laboratories which are shared resources. The solution to this issue is increasing the compensation allocated to the tutors so as to inspire more people to become medical practitioners (Woo et al., 2020). Doing so ensures that the students receive the best possible training they can obtain, and venturing into a career in the medical field becomes more realistic.


The prospect of workforce shortages in the healthcare industry is increasing throughout the country. This aspect is also similar in various economies across the world. Therefore, various approaches can be utilized to resolve this issue. Some of these approaches include activities involving the stakeholders, such as the healthcare leaders. It is also essential to establish a better strategy for communicating within the industry, especially between employers and employees. Such approaches are essential as they enable changes in the industry and stop the issue from escalating further and rather work towards establishing a successful healthcare industry with adequate staff. The introduction of more medical staff is beneficial to not only the people of Canada but also the medical professionals. They will be in a better position to deliver quality services to the consumers, enjoy their work, and also work within the regulated hours.


Barriball, L., Bremner, J., Buchan, J., Craveiro, I., Dieleman, M., Dix, O., … & Sermeus, W. (2015). Recruitment and retention of the health workforce in Europe. Brussels: European Commission.

Collinson, G. (2006). What makes an effective healthcare leader? Results of the best leadership practices research in healthcare in the UK. Practice Development in Health Care5(2), 81-91.

Domagała, A., Bała, M. M., Storman, D., Peña-Sánchez, J. N., Świerz, M. J., Kaczmarczyk, M., & Storman, M. (2018). Factors associated with satisfaction of hospital physicians: a systematic review on European data. International journal of environmental research and public health15(11), 2546.

Ferguson, S. L., & Williams, M. A. (2020). The Lamp Still Burns: Nurses on the Forefront of COVID-19, Health Disparities, and Gender Inequities. Nursing Economic$38(5).

Golinowska, S., & Sowada, C. (2018, December). What’s next for healthcare in Poland: Diagnosis and prognosis. In mBank–CASE Seminar Proceedings (No. 156).

Sturdivant, T., Herrin, K., Reynolds, M., & Mestas, L. (2020). Improving patient satisfaction through a nurse leader-physician bedside rounding protocol: A pilot project. Nursing Economics38(3), 158-163.

Woo, T., Ho, R., Tang, A., & Tam, W. (2020). Global prevalence of burnout symptoms among nurses: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of psychiatric research123, 9-20.


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