There are several reasons why it is so difficult for rural towns to find and keep medical personnel. The scarcity of resources is one of the main causes. Medical facilities in rural areas are few, understaffed, and struggling financially. These are key deterrents for recruiting staff because they will anticipate many challenges and heavy workloads. Medical facilities are limited, which causes an influx of patients seeking care at a single facility. Unfortunately, a shortage of recruits results in understaffed hospitals with an excessive number of patients. resulting in a sense of underpayment, overwork, and overwhelm among medical professionals. In this setting, medical professionals typically feel underappreciated, burn out more quickly, and leave with a negative experience that they might share with other colleagues. The financial resources available to medical facilities in rural areas are not equivalent to those in metropolitan areas. This is brought on by a lack of funds and a large number of uninsured patients. Wage compensation is restricted in the absence of sufficient cash flow, which significantly hinders recruiting. Many individuals cannot afford to live on the lower-income salaries that many rural medical institutions may offer.
Nursing directors must, in turn, employ creative staffing strategies. Establishing collaborations with nearby medical and nursing schools is one approach. This partnership will help pipeline students look forward to working within their community and offer scholarships and loan forgiveness programs. The pipeline program is excellent for exposing students to the benefits of working in a rural community. Giving students the chance to be mentored will also help them receive guidance and support both in the classroom and in the workplace. By providing scholarships, a great number of students would be able to pursue higher education without having to shoulder a heavy financial burden. Additionally, by working in these specific areas, students who attended these colleges but still incurred debt may be eligible for loan forgiveness under the loan forgiveness program. Both solutions will boost recruiting in the future of health care since they allow students to concentrate on their education rather than the financial strain.
In my view and according to the information provided in the article, the major reason there are few medical staff in rural areas is due to the work settings in the rural hospitals. Medical staff get overworked while working in rural areas and do not receive salary increments and bonuses like their urban counterparts. I believe any government effort to increasemedical staff in rural areas should go beyond salary increases to the elevation of living and working conditions in the rural areas. It is general knowledge that all human beings deserve a better quality of life thus, improving the work setting in rural areas will increase the number of medical staff interested in working in those areas.
As a Nursing Director of a rural hospital facing a significant nursing staff shortage, I would first focus on improving the existing workforce’s living standards to reduce the workload and maintain favorable working conditions. The next move would be campaigning for a balance in the government efforts because much of the government assistance is sent to larger hospitals with more patients, thus forgetting hospitals in rural areas (Wright, 2021). To avoid early retirements, I would provide attractive salaries and bonuses to keep the existing workforce at work instead of relying on continuous recruitment.
To alleviate the current and future medical staff shortage, I would recommend the creation of awareness in the nursing field to increase the number of students enrolled in medical schools every year. Increasing the number of students in the field would help counter the problem of early retirement as more energetic medical staff would be readily available. My solution is viable because it is permanent, though it might take time before the students finish their studies and get employed. Investment in education would increase enrollment in medical college, hence a long-term solution to a shortage of nurses.