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Hospital workforce will need time to rebuild after losses due to pandemic

greene co hospital

(WFIU/WTIU News)

A recent study by Becker’s Hospital Review found that nearly one in five healthcare workers nationally have left their jobs since February 2020. 

The study was released late last year, so those numbers have likely only gotten worse. 

Brian Tabor, the president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said it’s going to take time to rebuild the workforce after the pandemic ends. 

“I think the healthcare workforce is going to have to be rebuilt in a significant way,” Tabor said. “A report came out that speculated we may need five years to get back to 75 percent of the healthcare workforce that we had before the pandemic.  

“And that was a couple months ago before this latest surge, so I think that’s optimistic. I think it’s going to be more difficult than that.” 

For those who have remained in the profession, keeping morale up through wave after wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been difficult. 

Tabor said having teams of National Guard members assisting at Indiana hospitals has helped. At least 30 hospitals in the state have had or have National Guard teams on site. 

“I think it says to those men and women that are on the frontlines in Indiana’s hospitals that the policymakers and leaders do recognize how much they need that help right now,” Tabor said. “And I think that’s a morale booster to have some of that support and get a little break from these folks.” 

He said the IHA is doing what it can to provide behavioral health services for staff members feeling the stress of the pandemic. 

But the situation for hospitals isn’t likely to get much better soon. 

The state set a pandemic record last week with more than 3,500 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID-19. More than 1.5 million people in the state have tested positive for the virus, and Indiana’s death toll topped 20,000 Monday. 

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