The California Health Worker Shortage


Burnout isn’t the only thing causing a shortage in California health workers: California’s new vaccine regulation is making things a little more difficult for understaffed health care centers even before its implementation. Some traveling nurses who are needed in high quantities are refusing California assignments because they hate the idea of vaccination.

The health care centers are saying they are reaching a crisis point, straining under the dual forces of individuals seeking proper and regular care and surging COVID-19 hospitalizations caused by the Delta variant.

Dr. Tom Sugarman, a physician in California, mentioned that there are always long queues and waits at health centers; in his words, he said, “there’s not sufficient member of staff to keep the hospital beds open, patients always have to wait.”

In March 2020, the department of public health in California negotiated with Aya Health, one of California’s largest traveling nurse providers, to pay about $1 billion within six months to aid hospitals in meeting clinical staff and nursing shortages.

This was the plan, but departmental officials didn’t respond to the multiple requests from health care centers in California, stating that they need more health workers. They refused to finalize the contract with Aya health.

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the issue by signing an executive order reinstating emergency provisions to ensure adequate staffing. The executive order permits health care workers from other countries to work in California.

Careers Available in the Healthcare Niche in California

Statistics were carried out in 2011 to discover the top jobs in California. The result showed that careers in the healthcare niche dominated about 24% of the list. Some of the careers available in the healthcare aspect of the country include:
✔ Pharmacist
✔ Dental Hygienist
✔ Phlebotomist
✔ Clinical Nursing aide
✔ Medical billing and coding

Healthcare is a fast-growing niche for job seekers in California as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase. Even if you’re not interested in caring for patients, jobs like medical billing and coding, Phlebotomist, are very much available.

shortage-of-healthcare-workers⮚ What Does the Medical Billing and Coding Job Entail?

Medical billing and coding workers utilize technology to aid healthcare experts in updating their medical records and retrieving payment for different services rendered. Individuals who work in this field tend to assign codes for every diagnosis and procedure; they enter these codes into health records.

This information will then be transported to insurances companies, where healthcare claims could be processed.

Medical billing and coding employees can work in all types of health facilities, ranging from rehabilitation centers, health departments, and offices.

⮚ What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

Though some individuals get at the thought of the doctors drawing out blood samples from them, the process of drawing blood samples is relatively straightforward, and it principally involves the expertise of a phlebotomist.

The Phlebotomist gets to draw out the blood by puncturing a vein in the patient’s fingertips. In cases where a particular part of the patient’s blood is needed, the Phlebotomist will use an apheresis machine.

A phlebotomist does more than collect blood samples; a phlebotomist can also set up blood tests, urine tests; moreover, phlebotomists tend to calm patients down by explaining the possible sides of drug administration and the patient’s reaction to sterilizing agents.

As the healthcare field continues to grow, the demand for phlebotomists in California is also increasing. You could attend a phlebotomy school to obtain this degree.

⮚ Clinical Nursing Aides

Wherever personal care is needed, nursing aides are always available. Nursing aides work in hospitals, assisted living, community-based long-term care, nursing home, and hospice.

Nursing aides help patients, both young and old, to perform daily activities; this is in the case of assisted living.

Nursing aides are often closely supervised by nurses. The aides play a vital role in patients’ lives, keeping the nurse updated about their health status.

What Caused the Unprecedented Staff Shortages in California?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing shortages were quite widespread in most areas in California, according to California’s health planning and development sector.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has extended to a breaking point. Health care centers in California with more COVID-19 patients than the average count during winter surge explained that they are confronting the lack of health workers, particularly nurses.

Lois Richardson, California Hospital Association attorney, mentioned that almost all hospitals in the country are suffering and complained of a shortage of nurses. She said, “we have fewer nurses than patients in hospitals.”

The staffing shortage in California is so severe that Scripps Health is Looking to temporarily carry out a consolidation scheme for some of its health care centers with more patients than nurses. Job openings in California have increased by 57%, while vacancies have increased to about 95%; people are seriously considering the Phlebotomy school.

Health Workers Not Showing Interest in Work

Physical and emotional exhaustion is one of the primary reasons health workers in California show less interest in their jobs; some are already fleeing, experts say.

President of National Nurses United, Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, said that most nurses thought the COVID-19 pandemic would be over within a short period. Still, it just kept on happening, with the second and the third, and now it’s the fourth surge hit.

An ICU nurse also mentioned that of the dozens of COVID-19 patients she attended, only about three of these patients have survived.

Mary Lynn Briggs, a veteran, mentioned that her workplace has lots more health workers than they can employ, and this means those remaining nurses in California would have to pick up the slack.

Reports showed that nurses tend to help one another as they wouldn’t want one person to work out of ratio.

“Out of ratio” means that a nurse gets to take on too many jobs at once. California is the only state in the world that caps the number of patients that a single nurse can attend to. Under the average state requirement, an ICU nurse is expected to have a maximum of two patients to attend to. An emergency room nurse can have more than four.

When the winter surge happened in California, all hospitals were granted emergency waivers, allowing nurses to care for three patients. Critics mentioned that these waivers were a threat to the patient’s safety.

Receiving this comment, California’s health department did not attend to requests demanding information on whether health care centers have applied for waivers in response to nurse shortages in the state.

CaregiverVaccine Mandate Making Staffing Complicated

Hospital administrators worry that California’s vaccine mandate for health care workers could drive some nurses out of hospitals. Already, some nurses are showing resistance to this mandate; some are willing to resign.
In his statement, Richardson, a hospital attorney, mentioned that they informed 474 unvaccinated nurses to subject themselves to vaccination, and only 12 people showed up.

Administrators are simply concerned about the low vaccination rates among all workers, including janitors and food vendors. Nonetheless, some nurses are not willing to be vaccinated. Nurses with high social media influence protested in Southern California, saying the vaccine mandates violate their freedom.

If they refuse to get vaccinated, California will still have a shortage of nurses.

How Some Careers in Healthcare Only Need a Certification Rather than Being a Nurse or Doctor

It’s common to think that all healthcare providers are doctors or registered nurses. Many well-paying healthcare professions rewarding career pathways in healthcare require simply a certification.

Many years ago, healthcare workers were needed to complete significant training to pursue their chosen profession. Healthcare jobs can now be obtained with only a year or two of formal study. On-the-job training or online options are frequently used to obtain certifications and promotions.

There are a variety of well-paying healthcare careers to pick from.

What’s the best part? Not only do all of these positions pay at least $69,000, but they’re all expected to rise significantly over the next seven years, some by as much as 37%. That means that workers in these high-demand healthcare sectors should expect to have their well-paying jobs for a long time and that their salaries will likely rise as their skills become more in demand.

Jobs in healthcare that are becoming increasingly popular include, Physician assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Dental hygienists, Diagnostic medical photographers, Cath Lab Technicians, Cardiac Sonographer, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) & Paramedic and several others.

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