Like so many of you, I am ready to transition to the hope and promise of a new year. And while 2020 was filled with challenges and uncertainty, I feel it is important to look back with clear eyes to review what we have learned and to also look forward to see where we should focus our attention in 2021.
The healthcare industry has faced enormous challenges throughout the past year. No one could have foreseen the impacts of the pandemic and how different the conditions were from community to community. To adapt and overcome, healthcare organizations had to be agile, focused, and determined. They had to be willing to make enormous changes at a moment’s notice.
This also applied to those of us in the healthcare staffing sector. I could not be prouder of the way our Supplemental Health Care teams met these challenges and surpassed previous levels of service and accomplishment.
Never in our history has demand fluctuated the way it has this past year. Seemingly overnight, communities became hotspots, and demand for nurses and respiratory therapists followed suit. Hospitals were forced to reduce and even cancel elective surgeries to ensure they had staffing and beds to handle COVID-19 patients. And everyone, across all industries, found ways to implement new protocols to ensure the safety of their workers and those they serve.
Our teams joined together to pivot in creative ways and stay connected with our healthcare professionals in the field. We developed new processes to make sure they had the PPE and supplies necessary to stay safe.
You can all be proud of the vital work you did this past year, but we are not done yet. It remains to be seen what degree of impact early stages of vaccine distribution will have. We must continue our diligence in meeting our client partners’ needs and being proactive in managing demand surges wherever they arise.
A phrase we hear often is “the new normal”; I have also heard the phrase “the new abnormal”. Especially in healthcare, these still seem appropriate when we look ahead. Below is a brief look at what “normal” might look like in 2021.
- Health and Safety Protocols: Even with the vaccine, we cannot let our guard down regarding the health and safety protocols that have been implemented in response to the pandemic. From our diligence in sanitizing workspaces to practicing sound personal hygiene, we can all contribute to safeguarding each other’s health.
- Technology: We have all seen how technology can enhance our ability to work smarter and safer. The healthcare industry has rapidly deployed technology to allow clinicians to care for non-emergent patients virtually and telemedicine has finally become mainstream. As this continues, our staff in the field will need to stay well-informed of the emerging technologies directly impacting patient care.
- Recruiting Challenges: Clearly, the pandemic presented significant challenges in the world of healthcare staffing recruitment. Fortunately, we have access to robust digital tools and processes to reach passive and active job seekers. To meet future demands, we will continue deploying creative recruitment strategies and benefits packages to attract the talented care providers our customers require.
- Patient Care Outside the Hospital: While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth and digital health solutions, it was also a driver in expanding home health care and other outpatient solutions. This trend will continue creating more opportunities for our healthcare professionals to secure positions outside of traditional brick and mortar healthcare facilities. Home health care expansion also supports the need to stay on top of evolving technology solutions.
As we close the book on what has been an eventful year for Supplemental Health Care, the world, and all of us individually, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. Each of you has contributed to our ability to meet the needs of our clients and provide quality patient care under very trying circumstances. We were successful because we all worked together as a team, as a family, and those efforts will allow us to continue rising to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
As uncertainly continues, my optimism grows with each passing month. We have proven our ability to adapt and overcome unprecedented challenges time and time again. Let’s build upon the lessons learned from this past year and apply them to the new opportunities that will be presented in 2021.