27 Aug Projected Shortfall of 105,000 Doctors in the US by 2030
The projected shortage of healthcare workers has been an urgent topic in the medical and healthcare industries for a while now, but what does a shortage of healthcare workers mean and how is this happening?
To begin, as early as 2008, experts were speculating that to keep up with the rapidly growing and intensifying healthcare industry the nation needed approximately 250,000 new healthcare workers to combat the demand of healthcare workers by 2020.
More recently, a 2017 study has shown that the healthcare industry has a projected deficiency of 105,000 healthcare workers by 2030. This includes the projection of a shortfall of approximately 7,000 to 43,100 primary care doctors and a deficiency of 33,500 to 61,800 of non-primary care healthcare workers.
This means that the scarcity of healthcare workers has only increased over the past 12 years.
What’s Causing the Shortage of Healthcare Workers?
Several factors contribute to the falling number of healthcare workers and the increased number of workers needed by 2030. These include a large generation that is aging with more chronic conditions while the healthcare force is also aging.
There are not enough younger healthcare workers to replace the workers who are retiring. This means that as more healthcare workers age out of their positions as active physicians, there is no one there to take their spot.
This might be traced back to limited educational resources and competitive higher education environments. Because the healthcare industry is so critical to the public and private health of a nation, the educational system in colleges and universities is very intense. Students typically have to be accepted into a nursing program or a program that fits their career goals.
The competitive nature of higher education comes into play when students are rejected from programs they need to take to become healthcare workers. Universities are creating competition between schools as well as between students in their institutions.
All the colleges want to have the finest program in their area. This requires them to only accept a small number of students and create courses designed to keep only the smartest and most hardworking students in their program. Depending on the institution, a certain number of students will drop the program and their spots will not be filled.
This creates a lack of new healthcare workers coming out of school and ready to work, which then sparks a deficiency of capable healthcare workers down the road.
The shortage of healthcare workers is not just an issue in the United States, but a global issue brought about (largely,) by the changing cultures of lifestyle into a mostly unhealthy form. People around the world are spending more time at their computers and sitting than getting outside and exercising.
In addition, healthy food is less accessible and more expensive around the world, while cheap junk food is easy to get. Junk food is cheaper and has terrible ramifications on your body and as more communities (both impoverished and not,) pick up these foods, global health decreases