HR in Healthcare: Top Challenges (and How To Overcome Them)

Posted by Trakstar • June 10, 2022 (Last modified June 8, 2023) • 4 min read

Working for HR in healthcare feels exceptionally different than it does in other industries. Why? Healthcare workers have always faced pushback, overwork, and public pressures – all of those struggles are felt by the HR department. HR leaders in healthcare know they get a lot of the same pressure and expectations, but they don’t get the same empathy that their employees get. Healthcare Human Resources workers are still on the front lines, so their needs are slightly different than those of other Human Resources leaders.

Healthcare HR Jobs are plentiful right now because many HR leaders are simply leaving the profession after dealing with the healthcare sector. Every HR leader faces obstacles, but burnout and overwork aren’t just problems facing doctors, nurses, dentists, and people who work directly with patients. Burnout in healthcare HR jobs is just as high, if not higher. Many healthcare companies are struggling to keep workers and HR leaders – and the two problems are expressly connected.

So why is HR in healthcare so tricky?

HR Challenges in Healthcare

Human resources leaders in healthcare face challenges other industries to face on top of unique challenges. Everyone is facing struggles in hiring new employees, keeping the employees they have, and helping people advance within their careers. There’s no denying that some industries feel more pressure than others. Even within healthcare, some areas feel more stress than others. Nursing is far and above the most complex field to lead right now: A third of nurses plan to quit their current position by the end of the year due to burnout, stress, and inadequate compensation.

HR healthcare struggles will not stop as we move away from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, human resources workers will have to battle the tension and burnout, a lack of employees in the pipeline, weak healthcare HR solutions, and an industry that continually churns employees.

Some particular HR challenges in healthcare we can see for the next few years include:

HR in Healthcare for Rural Communities

In particular, healthcare HR leaders in rural communities face struggles at almost every stage of the employee lifecycle. They have trouble attracting qualified candidates. Once someone has worked in their hospital or doctor’s office for a set amount of time, they try to move to more metropolitan areas with better tools, bigger budgets, and more interesting cases. They also have difficulty bringing in trainers, industry leaders, and people who can teach their workers how to use newer tools or methods.

Rural communities are also fighting against some skepticism around the healthcare industry. They have to deal with public opinions that keep some people from those areas from going through medical school and those who have the credential from moving there.

One way to fight this disparity is to use telehealth tools and maintain communication with patients through technology. You can do this with a healthcare communication platform that ensures secure connectivity and provides a wide array of communication tools for both patients and medical personnel.

Hiring Shortages

To some people, it feels like “everyone is going to school for healthcare,” but human resources in healthcare knows the truth: there are some roles where there are many applicants and some openings where you can’t get a single qualified candidate. The war for talent hits healthcare harder than it does other industries because of employee churn and because more people are dropping out of medical school. Whether they can’t afford it, don’t like some of the conversations around healthcare, or decide to pursue other passions, medical schools aren’t seeing very high completion rates.

Aging Workforce

Another issue HR leaders in healthcare are facing? Their aging workforce. Throughout the pandemic and as coworkers kept their distances from each other, many healthcare workers lost the sense of mentorship that long sustained new, incoming employees. They lost the chance to learn from people who have been doing it for years. Now, they have to learn on their own.

How can HR leaders fight this? A great way to preserve some of that information is to work with your tenured doctors, nurses, support staff, and other healthcare professionals by building learning courses, video lectures, holding webinars, and using information as part of training. The best way to preserve that information is through a learning management system that allows you to replay and reuse it for all new employees.

Much of the information that tenured workers have will be evergreen – you can use some of those recordings or lessons for years to come. For the ones that change, you need software that can help you make amendments. 

For more information about a learning management system for healthcare, you can schedule a demo of Trakstar platform today.

Don't Miss Out on More Great HR Articles!

Subscribe to get the latest, greatest HR and Talent Development content straight to your inbox.