Human Resource Management in the US Healthcare System

Importance of Human Resource Management

Human resource is an important aspect in any workplace as it is the essence that carries the goal and objectives of various tasks to their end. The world has moved from the traditional use of labor where man-hours were what counted regarding how much work was done. The coming of technology as well as wider, diverse, and more complex career options necessitated the need for the development of management strategies for employees and workers in all fields.

Skilled labor became more and more necessary over time as most industries became automated and more sophisticated. These developments have caused a lot of human resource issues, the major ones being attracting new employees, retaining the existing ones, and administering training and development among others. Failure to address these issues has resulted in massive employee turnover across industries.

The growing need for skilled professionals placed a converse effect on human resource management to match the needs and requirements of more informed and multifaceted staff needs. Clarke (2000) observes that skilled workers are difficult to find and that human resource management is the balancing element that ensures the healthcare providers reach their target and objectives in the right shape and time.

Factors affecting Staffing and Staffing Turnover

There is a growing deficiency in the need for nurses in U.S hospitals and it has become common to find healthcare providers advertising for nurse vacancies in Third World countries. As acknowledged by Gelinas and Loh (2004), US healthcare is faced with a shortage of skilled personnel due to inadequate human resource structures that can help address the challenge of attracting new and retaining employees. In addition, several factors have been put forward as the cause of high staff turnover.

First, most employees exit from the health care sector due to a lack of motivation and job satisfaction necessitated by low wages. In addition, the uncertainties caused by the massive layoffs in the 1980s have been a major contributor to low staff morale, causing many of them to seek alternative opportunities elsewhere.

Cultural differences have also affected employees. Poor cultural diversity management has caused instability in the workforce, leading to job dissatisfaction, and eventually employees exit to search for better working conditions.

Poor management practices and human resources structures especially on employee training and development have had an impact on staff retention. Employees who feel that their careers are not developing or growing have been reluctant to continue operating in these health facilities.

Minimizing Turnover


Insightful leadership provides vision and enhances the overall performance of the organization by effectively guiding the labor force. Sound leadership and structure are essential to enhance staff motivation and morale.

Organizational Culture

Establishing a culture that is characterized by work enjoyment among employees is good management practice. High standard performance versus good remuneration and reward system; training workshops and exemplary management practices; all lead to a culture that the staff becomes proud to be part of. In a profession with sometimes unpleasant tasks as found in healthcare, the staff needs a fort to ‘fall back to’ instead of getting depressed.

Work Design

Work and organizational policies as well as role-stating, defining specific jobs and scope of activities give staff definite experiences and self-assurance when going about their tasks. High performance and patient satisfaction will result from providing employees with clear roles and an environment that with well-structured work patterns and processes (Gelinas and Loh, 2004)

Wages and Benefits

Healthcare is a labor-intensive field that calls for review of staff wages and benefits to ensure they parallel the value of input made and guarantee fairness to caregivers. Low wages can be demoralizing for hospital workers and nurses. Indeed, White, Eaton, and Feuerbeurg (2003) suggest that staff retention can be improved by among others good compensation to the employees.

Comparing Orgs

Healthcare providers across the U.S face similar challenges, staff turnover notwithstanding. It is necessary to know the progress of other hospitals and health facilities and their overall operation methods. As White et al (2003) observe that this sets one on a pedestal when doing an analysis of facility against other players in the industry. Offering equal or better terms and facilities than other players will help retain staff.


Clarke, R. L. (2000). Investing in human resources. Healthcare Financial Management, 54(2), 16. Web.

Gelinas, L. S. and Yik-Hin, L. D. (2004). The Effect of Workforce Issues on Patient Safety. Nursing Economics, 22(5), 266-72, 279. Web.

Heathfield S. M. (N. d.) What Is Human Resource Management? About. Web.

White, A. et al. (2003). Nurse Aide Turnover and Staff Retention in California Nursing Homes. Academy Health. Web.

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