Centra Health’s Mission in Solving the Virginia Healthcare Worker Shortage

Centra Health’s Mission in Solving the Virginia Healthcare Worker Shortage

Posted on Oct 19, 2023

Finding solutions to the national healthcare workforce shortage continues to be a priority for lawmakers, medical universities, and healthcare organizations. But what does a sustainable solution look like?

Virginia nonprofit Centra Health has taken the lead in highlighting why medical careers are one of the best paths for professional growth through accessible education. Read on to learn about how the workforce shortage has led to hot career opportunities in Virginia and what Centra Health has done to promote healthcare upskilling, including:

  • • The Impact of the Healthcare Workforce Shortage
  • • The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers in Virginia
  • • Centra Health’s Mission and Initiatives

Ready to dive headfirst into the Virginia healthcare scene? Learn how you can get started on your career in the healthcare workforce! We have hundreds of positions waiting to be filled.

The Impact of the Healthcare Workforce Shortage

The healthcare workforce shortage is an ongoing industry-wide issue caused by the gap between qualified healthcare worker availability and the growing demand for healthcare services. According to the American Hospital Association, the U.S. will face a shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2033 and require more than 200,000 new registered nurses (RNs) each year to meet healthcare needs.

This employment gap has far-reaching effects on the overall health of communities. Consider these healthcare shortage statistics and factors:

Aging Population Drives Demand – As the population ages, elderly patients will naturally require more medical attention and long-term care. Additionally, more senior medical professionals will soon retire and need younger medical staff to take their place. Both conditions are significant drivers for in-demand healthcare jobs.

Rising Need for Mental Health Professionals – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow much faster in the next decade than the average projections for other occupations. Currently, the need for anxiety and depression treatment remains high for young patients according to a 2022 survey by the American Psychological Association.

High Patient-Staff Ratio Results in Errors – A recent study from StatPearls revealed that nursing shortages led to higher error, morbidity, and mortality rates as well as staff burnout. In contrast, maintaining reasonable staffing ratios improved service quality while preserving talent retention.

Ultimately, having adequate healthcare resources on hand is critical to ensuring that patients and the overall communities they represent receive the best care.

The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers in Virginia

Stressors on the healthcare industry as a whole have also led to strong opportunities for career growth as well as quality of life changes to the Virginia workforce.

The Virginia Department of Health Professions tracks monthly trends in healthcare labor and jobs. Their August 2023 Virginia Regional Employment Report revealed that Virginia is enjoying positive employment growth across most of its regions, with a 6.3% increase in healthcare employment over the past three months.

Other key findings in the report suggest a promising picture:

Virginia areas outside of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads achieved the greatest employment gain in July 2023 with 1,000 new jobs created. Northern Virginia followed suit with 800 jobs created that month.

When looking at services, ambulatory healthcare services saw its sixth consecutive month of positive employment growth (1,300 new jobs in July), while nursing and residential care saw 800 and 600 new jobs respectively.

When looking at nursing home care, Keith Hare (President & CEO, VHCA-VCAL) noted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Virginia legislators are leading the way in thinking through employment initiatives. By creating incentive-based programs for nursing home staffing, they’re building upon recent investments in the Medicaid program while helping to improve nursing home care quality through rigorous but pragmatic staffing standards.

Other initiatives such as On Board Virginia and Virginia Ready address Virginia workforce development by highlighting in-demand healthcare jobs. While Virginia Ready encourages re-skilling or upskilling through accessible certifications, On Board Virginia spotlights how fulfilling healthcare careers can be when you love where you work.

However you look at the situation, it’s clear that the Virginia healthcare workforce is ripe with opportunities and plays a key role in spurring economic growth.

Centra Health’s Mission and Initiatives

Centra Health’s mission is to empower future healthcare workers with in-demand medical skills while encouraging a patient-forward approach. In response to the healthcare worker shortage, Centra Health organizes academic programs, residency programs, and even K-12 education to support those entering the medical field.

What makes Centra Health unique is its focus on building interprofessional teams. By finding opportunities to connect medical learners with allied health professionals, Centra Health can bridge the gap between academic settings and real-life medical experience. The result is a stronger healthcare workforce.

Additionally, it’s impossible to address the healthcare workforce shortage without investing in people.

As part of Centra Health’s strategic plan, the nonprofit follows a “Just Culture,” which is a commitment to creating an employee community that fosters support and safety through education and accountability.

Amy Carrier (President & CEO, Centra Health) reaffirms this mission, stating, “A just culture creates shared expectations within a framework that emphasizes support for one another, fixing process issues, and improving the work environment […] It is a journey that is necessary to ensure our caregivers and providers are empowered as experts in their field to improve the health and quality of life for our patients.”

Join the Healthcare Workforce

Despite the healthcare shortage, several Virginia-based organizations remain optimistic about industry prospects! On Board Virginia, Virginia Ready, and Centra Health each showcase the bountiful career opportunities by joining the Virginia healthcare workforce. State-specific data also supports that healthcare in Virginia is in high demand.

At the end of the day, tackling the healthcare shortage requires properly equipping healthcare workers with education, experience, and work balance to maintain healthy growth.

If you’re interested in pursuing healthcare careers, view On Board Virginia’s resources to learn more about potential pathways!

Or, share this blog on social media to raise awareness about how Virginia is progressing against the healthcare shortage!