The Importance of Upskilling in Healthcare

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The world is evolving rapidly, and upskilling is crucial for all industries to flourish in an increasingly competitive world. Today, the US healthcare industry faces many challenges like nurse/physician shortage, difficulty finding competent healthcare workers, and more. Upskilling the workforce has become a trend in the healthcare industry, and it can fix several of the industry’s challenges. 

Lack of upskilling can hinder the advancement of healthcare workers and the entire industry. The numerous consequences include patient safety risks, legal issues, high turnover, reduced employee productivity, low staff morale, and other irreversible problems. 

Not upskilling can affect both healthcare employees and employers. As an employee, staying up-to-date with the latest technological developments in the healthcare industry and pursuing advanced degrees for career development can help improve healthcare services. As an employer, enrolling employees in courses and training programs and tracking their progress and performance can help enhance an organization’s reputation. Staff education and training are crucial for the healthcare industry to embark on an upskilling endeavor.

Below we will discuss the importance of upskilling in the healthcare industry. 

1. Enhance patient care

In the healthcare sector, every decision of a healthcare worker can mean life or death for a patient. Therefore, only the highest quality of care is acceptable. Healthcare workers using outdated practices can put the lives of their patients at risk. Therefore, doctors and nurses should keep upskilling by pursuing advanced degrees, certifications, and training to provide the best quality of care. In this regard, online masters of nursing programs equip nurses with advanced nursing skills to help them plan, manage, and provide optimal healthcare for patients of all backgrounds. What’s more, eLearning allows healthcare professionals to manage their gruelingly hectic work schedules alongside academic endeavors. 

Incorporating technology into healthcare practices has made them more efficient and effective. Upskilling can also help healthcare workers to understand and adopt these new technologies and improve the quality of care they provide.

Better patient care will lead to improved patient outcomes, ultimately boosting organizational reputation and credibility. Therefore, upskilling can be profitable for both healthcare workers and healthcare organizations.

2. Leverage new technologies

New advanced technologies are taking over the world and impacting every industry. If healthcare workers don’t upskill with technological proficiency, they won’t be able to leverage the latest technologies in healthcare. Ultimately, it’ll restrict them from optimally performing their duties.

That’s why upskilling is crucial for healthcare workers to learn and use the latest technologies and provide optimal care to their patients. Some tips that healthcare organizations can use to support employees to adapt latest technologies are:

  • Promoting a culture of learning and development
  • Explaining how new technologies can benefit employee experience
  • Exploring ways in which technology can help employees beyond the elimination of manual labor
  • Clearly defining your technology-related strategies and values

Healthcare workers can also take a break to go back to school to learn the latest advancements in healthcare to advance their careers.

3. Boost employee retention

Failure to keep up with the new trends in the healthcare industry forces many employees to exit the organization. Highly-skilled professionals choose to work with employers offering the best salary packages and other fringe benefits. Therefore, it can become difficult for organizations to retain competent and experienced healthcare professionals.

Regularly upskilling and reskilling the healthcare workers at your institute to ensure that they are up-to-date regarding the latest medical technologies can help improve employee retention rates. Moreover, assisting the employees in upskilling will create a credible bond between the employee and your organization. It will also stop them from leaving your organization even if they are offered better salaries and benefits elsewhere.  

4. Effective in handling patient diversity

The healthcare system has become more diverse than ever before, and this diversity presents unique challenges. Understanding and treating patients from different cultural, religious, economic, and social backgrounds requires more than medical knowledge. Every individual requires a specifically tailored approach for optimal treatment and patient outcome.

Nowadays, doctors and nurses upskill by receiving special training to provide effective medical care to patients from diverse demographics like age, gender, ethnicity, and more. For example, a registered nurse can choose to treat a specific demographic by specializing in neonatal care or midwifery.  

5. Reduces skill gap

The skill gap is widening because people even graduating with the same degree are not trained equally for a specific job. Likewise, several healthcare students are only receiving clinical skill development training with little to no focus on soft skills. It compels healthcare institutes to work on workers’ soft skills such as emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and empathy. Moreover, social inequalities like limited career prospects for people from poorer backgrounds can further increase the skills gap among peers.

Providing upskilling opportunities to employees can help close the skills gap. Likewise, choosing to invest in the upskilling of your employees instead of hiring more can promote your employee’s loyalty towards your organization. 

6. Cost-effective

Upskilling and reskilling employees can help healthcare organizations save money and time significantly. Upskilling existing employees instead of hiring new candidates can be extremely cost-effective for a healthcare organization. And that’s because existing employees already understand your organization’s culture, treatments, workflow, other procedures, and the kind of patients you receive. In contrast, finding new talent and training them to adapt to your organization can cost you money. 

However, existing employees only require strategic upskilling to help them adjust to their new job role, which helps save a lot of money. Moreover, upskilling existing employees also increases their productivity and helps create a resilient workforce.

The Bottom Line

The healthcare industry is rapidly transforming and is facing several challenges with each passing year. Many of the problems in the healthcare industry can be solved by simply upskilling the workforce. Moreover, healthcare workers can also upskill on their own by pursuing advanced degrees, training, and certifications. Upskilling is indispensable for employees of any industry. However, upskilling in the healthcare industry can provide various benefits down the line. These benefits can include providing better care to patients, helping existing employees better adapt to new technologies, improving employee retention, reducing the skills gap, efficiently handling patient diversity. Similarly, upskilling existing employees can also help organizations minimize recruitment costs.

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