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Combating the Rehab Talent Shortage

Strategies for Acquisition, Retention and Engagement

A rehab program is only as good as its staff. Acquiring, retaining and keeping rehab talent engaged is critical for program effectiveness. Staffing issues can burden providers with additional costs and make it hard for them to deliver a consistently high quality of care, but there are key strategies to help relieve the staffing burden.

The medical industry is facing a growing talent shortage. Recent estimates predict that America will be short of more than 130,000 doctors by 2025.1 Specialized departments will suffer especially high shortage rates.

If healthcare providers want to minimize the impact of this shortage, they must optimize their recruitment and retention practices. This guide details the best strategies for making that happen.

Challenge Icon of figure jumping hurdleCHALLENGE | Talent Acquisition

Acute rehab programs must be sufficiently staffed if they are to meet the growing demand. America’s aging population is more susceptible to neurological and cardiovascular conditions that require intensive rehabilitation. The population 85 and older is the fastest-growing segment in the United States and is set to triple by 2050.7

The increasing scarcity of physicians, nurses and therapists is stoking competition between employers.

A survey showed that 46% of graduating residents were contacted by recruiters more than 100 times.2 As many as 76% of residents received signing bonuses in 2016, which averaged $32,636 (a 21% increase from the previous year).3 Other common incentives included relocation, CME and loan forgiveness.

Based on these trends, compensation alone is no longer sufficient to attract quality talent. To recruit the best physicians, nurses and therapists, rehab programs need to offer packages that also feature training and educational opportunities, reduce regulatory burden and support greater work/life balance. Today’s candidates seek assurance that they will have impactful work where they will not be isolated from mentors or medical management support.

Solutions Icon of arrow hitting bullseye targetSOLUTIONS | View Talent Acquisition Solutions

Challenge Icon of figure jumping hurdleCHALLENGE | Retention and Engagement

Rehab programs that fail to keep their employees engaged risk serious staffing instability. Close to half of disengaged hospital employees surveyed plan to seek new jobs within the next 12 months.5

To retain quality rehab personnel, providers must develop and maintain a positive culture that enables medical directors, nurses, therapists and other staff to perform at their best.4 Achieving high engagement is an integral component.

One of the strongest drivers of engagement is access to advanced training and continued education. Yet when surveyed, hospital employees reported lowest satisfaction rates with training and career development opportunities. Other significant contributors include factors such as healthy team relationships, sufficient work resources, feeling valued by superiors and employer, and clarity of objectives.

Solutions Icon of arrow hitting bullseye targetSOLUTIONS | View Retention and Engagement Solutions

Additional Staffing Resources

Overcome staffing challenges with the help of a proven partner. Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services (KHRS) enables over 150 hospital-based programs to drive greater job satisfaction, reduce vacancies and improve care quality. Their national pool of recruiting and operational experts allows KHRS to reduce its partners’ management vacancies by more than 99% and clinical liaison vacancies by 60%. To learn how KHRS can help your acute rehabilitation program reach even greater success, contact us today.

Contact us to learn how KHRS can help your acute rehabilitation program reach even greater success.

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  1. Dall TM, Gallo PD, Chakrabarti R, West T, Semilla AP, and Storm MV. An Aging Population And Growing Disease Burden Will Require A Large And Specialized Health Care Workforce By 2025. Health Affairs. 2013 Nov;32(11):2013-20. doi:10.1377/ hlthaff.2013.0714.
  2. Jual, Efraim; Barron Jeremy. Age-Related Diseases and Clinical and Public Health Implications for the 85 Years Old and Over Population. Front Public Health. 2017 Dec; 5: 335.
  3. O’Hara S. Winning the War for Physician Talent: Mastering recruitment of millennials (and more) in a hyper-competitive market. Advisory Board Research Report. 2017 Sep. briefing/2017/winning-the-war-for-physician-talent
  4. Merritt Hawkins. 2017 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioners Recruiting Incentives. 2017 Aug. https://www. incentives/
  5. Lowe GS. How Employee Engagement Matters for Hospital Performance. Healthcare quarterly (Toronto, Ont.) 2012 Apr;15(2):29-39. doi:10.12927/hcq.2012.22915.
  6. Tran D, Davis A, McGillis Hall L, Jaglal SB. Comparing Recruitment and Retention Strategies for Rehabilitation Professionals among Hospital and Home Care Employers. Physiotherapy Canada. 2012;64(1):31-41. doi:10.3138/ptc.2010-43.
  7. Rao, Sandhya K. MD; Kimball, Alexa B. MD, MPH; Lehrhoff, Sara R. MS; Hidrue, Michael K. PhD; Colton, Deborah G. MSW; Ferris, Timothy G. MD, MPH; Torchiana, David F. MD. The Impact of Administrative Burden on Academic Physicians: Results of a Hospital-Wide Physician Survey. Academic Medicine. 2017 Feb;92(2):237-243. doi:10.1097/ ACM.0000000000001461
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