If you currently work in the medical field or you are considering making this career move, you may already be aware of the fact that demand is booming at the moment. This is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down either. We’re expecting the demand for nurses and physicians to skyrocket over the next decade, but what is causing this to happen? Read on to discover the different reasons why physicians and nurses are going to be in such high demand.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise, the healthcare system was already operating with a shortage of staff in the United States. In fact, there are so many different surveys and statistics that show the extent of this. For example, in the United States, the biggest employer is healthcare. Moreover, it is projected that approximately 500,000 new health care workers are going to be required in California alone by 2024.
These statistics have left many people in the healthcare industry worried that they are not going to be able to cope with the pressures placed on them, so it is worth taking a look at how we got to this stage to begin with. Why is there such a growing and increased demand for physicians and nurses?
Well, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that there are many different factors that are at play here. However, one of the biggest problems is that the population in the United States is growing at such a rapid rate. In fact, according to “Ensuring Quality Cancer Care through the Oncology Workforce: Sustaining Care in the 21st Century,” the population in the U.S. is growing at a rate of 25 million people every decade. So, if you consider the fact that there will be 25 million more individuals who require health care within ten years’ time, it is not difficult to understand why we would need more nurses and physicians to provide this care.
You have to couple this with the fact that we’re living longer nowadays too. The same publication also highlighted that the number of people in the United States over the age of 65-years-old is expected to double by 2030. When you’ve got a growing population, and you’ve got an aging population as well, the demands on the healthcare industry are going to be growing all of the time. This is proving difficult to keep up with, and the issue is only going to get worse and worse. That is why there is such emphasis being placed on finding nurses and physicians to fill these spaces. If you are looking for a new career path or you’re currently deciding what to do with your future, this is a career that is guaranteed to be in demand.
As the years pass over the next decade, the increase in the number of patients is going to cause the demand for practitioners to keep increasing as well. One of the significant issues that need to be addressed in this regard is to figure out how the care model is going to be optimized to deliver the best results. It is not merely about determining who is going to take care of which patient. As the population gets older, specialists are going to be required in areas of disease that are currently related to aging, as well as in the area of any diseases that are emerging, i.e., those that are relatively rare right now but can become more common as time goes on. Therefore, not only does an aging population place greater demands on the healthcare industry purely from a numbers standpoint, but it makes a difference in terms of the sort of illnesses that are going to need to be treated most often and the sort of care that is provided.
In the next ten years or so, it is believed that there is likely to be a shortage in physicians, and as a consequence, both the specialist and generalist are going to be required to be more non-physician practitioners, who will be particularly effective in areas whereby care needs to be provided more regularly.
Another trend that we have noticed that is certainly playing the role is the fact that the average number of visits a person over the age of 45-years-old has to a physician has increased considerably over the past 15 years. Healthcare experts worry that this trend is going to continue. Professionals have spoken about the baby boom generation and the attitude they have to healthcare. It seems that our expectations are changing when it comes to the medical care we receive, and we’re expecting more. This means that more pressure is placed on those working in the healthcare sector at the moment, and this is another reason why we’re seeing such a massive requirement in terms of demand.
Of course, we cannot speak about the increased demand for health care professionals without mentioning the recent healthcare reform. Under ACA, roughly 32 million uninsured Americans will now be able to get insurance. This is a significant change that is going to place a greater demand on the medical sector. More personnel is going to be required to assist those who now have access to services that they were not able to access before.
In fact, patients have become the ultimate consumer, and this is something that is only going to get more prevalent as time goes on. Patients can now surf the web for all of the information they need and to choose the health plan that is right for them. Increasing importance is going to be placed on patient satisfaction and other patient-orientated report cards. As there becomes more focus on the individual and less focus on employees, consumer demands are going to increase and the Internet encourages customers to become more picky and demanding.
Another reason why demand is increasing in this field of healthcare is because of the increased technology available to us and the advancements that are being made in this area. As treatment and genetic diagnosis translate from cell to bedside, the armamentarium and information that is available to nurses and physicians are going to increase by inconceivable amounts in the next ten years. We are already seeing different techniques being trialed and researched, especially those that are focused on less invasive treatments. While this is a great thing and should drive efficiency ultimately, this is not going to happen overnight. There are going to be ethical questions, consultations, trials, and bedding in periods that need to be attended to, and so this is also going to place more strain onto the workforce.
Most people would likely agree that there is clearly a need for greater efficiency in regards to technology that is in place in terms of delivering patient information. This is a problem that plagues the entire world, though; it’s not unique to the United States. It seems that the healthcare sector can often be lagging behind when it comes to the efficient management of consumer contact and handling of data. Outdated systems can also lead to inefficiencies in the workplace, not to mention security problems. While this is not one of the biggest contributing factors to the requirement for more nurses and physicians, it would certainly help to make the workplace a more productive one with fewer barriers in the way.
Another reason why we may see more slots become available when it comes to the healthcare market is that nurses and physicians value their time more. For many years, healthcare professionals have worked every hour under the sun for their patients, often at a detriment to their own health and the relationships they have with their families. However, we’re seeing newer physicians value that all-important work/life balance. As a consequence, this can mean that the modern physicians and nurses of today do not work as many hours as they once did. However, you cannot simply leave patients without someone to turn to, and so this may mean that more professionals need to be hired to share the workload between them.
Another trend that we have noticed is that interest has clearly dropped in certain areas of care, with primary care being a prime example of this. Despite the fact that there is an expected increase in the number of medical school students, there are shortages in certain practice areas. Primary care is a major example in this regard. Since 2000, the number of graduates entering primary care has decreased by 31 percent. There has also been a decrease in the number of graduates from osteopathic medical schools as well, with a 12 percent reduction. Of course, this is nowhere near as significant as the reduction in terms of those moving into primary care.
There has been a noticeable shift in the way that health care is being provided. While the requirement for acute care has not decreased, the focus on the cost of health care has intensified the interest in population health, which is also commonly referred to as public health or community health. What does this mean? Well, rather than waiting until a person needs to be hospitalized, the trend is towards supplying preventive care in community health centers and in the home. Nevertheless, the shift demands that there are different sorts of caregivers, and so we can expect there to be an increase in demand in other areas of health as well, not only in regards to physicians and nurses. Some roles that are essential here include the likes of patient advocates, case managers, and public health care workers. In the years to come, these non-traditional health care workers are going to need to be trained and hired.
On a final note, it is worth considering the fact that the increased demand for nurses and physicians is likely to flow into other areas of the health care sector. As different and more positions are introduced into the medical sector, a greater number of people are going to be needed to measure the efficiency of it all and manage everyone. This means that the demand for nurses and physicians is going to mean that there will probably be more opportunities in this field for roles such as data analysts, data collections, IT staff specializing in health care, health care administrators, and human resources.
So there you have it: an insight into physicians and nurses and why there is such high demand for these jobs. When you take all of the factors that have been discussed into consideration, it is not hard to see why this is an industry that is experiencing a considerable amount of growth.
If you are looking for a career move that makes sense, this is certainly an option that is well worth thinking about. With such high demand anticipated over the next ten years, this is the perfect opportunity for you to pursue a career as a nurse or physician. Plus, with technology advancing and so many changes expected in the industry, while it may be a challenging time, it is certainly an interesting and exciting one.