Securing an adequate and effective healthcare workforce for the future is vital to everyone and the solutions are neither quick nor easy. Baby boomers are retiring at a faster rate than newly trained healthcare professionals are entering the workforce, so the urgency to act is high.
Healthcare faculty positions are very hard to fill making it difficult to open up the pipeline for students to enter healthcare careers. It is not as simple as “train more people” when the number of faculty is limited. In some cases there is an adequate workforce supply for selected positions, but maldistribution means rural vacancies stay open while other markets do not feel the strain.
RWHC approaches workforce development by following our core value of collaboration. Only with our partners can we summon the forces necessary to forge policy changes that will grow a strong and well-trained healthcare workforce.
Examples of RWHC workforce partnerships include: Promoting Physician Practice in Wisconsin: • The Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine (WARM) – In the 1990s, RWHC began advocating for rural medical education at the UW School of Medicine in Madison. In 2004, in collaboration with the School and others, developed the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine and continues as a major supporter. • The Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education (WCRGME), sponsored by RWHC, addresses the shortage of rural primary care physicians through the expansion of graduate medical education. Securing Critical Data and Grants: • The Wisconsin Council on Medical Education & Workforce (WCMEW)–Sponsored by RWHC, Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) and the Wisconsin Medical Society (WMS) with participation from a broad array of state associations is the Wisconsin’s foremost initiative addressing forecasted physician workforce shortages as well the promotion of team based healthcare where all clinicians work to the height of their education, training and license. • The Wisconsin Center for Nursing (WCN)–RWHC has long served as co-lead with WCN for the national Campaign for Action sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and AARP. Addressing Burnout: • Healthy Embodied Agile Leadership (HEAL) is a program RWHC endorses offered by the UW School of Family Medicine and the Institute for Zen Leadership offering promising results in resiliency to address physician burnout. Attracting Rural Students: • Annual $2,500 Monato Rural Essay Prize–RWHC has long awarded this annual award for the best paper written by a University of Wisconsin Student as a means to encourage students to think about working in rural healthcare. • Through the Pharmacy Director Roundtable, supporting the development of a shared rural advanced training track and shared member rural pharmacy residency project. This roundtable has participated regularly in presenting to pharmacy students on the unique practice of rural pharmacy, attracting many students to rural clinical placements. Additional resources: RN Workforce Supply and Demand Forecasting Report WHA 2019 Workforce Report https://www.wha.org/WisconsinHospitalAssociation/media/WHA-Reports/2019-WHA-Workforce-Report.pdf