By Jeff Decker, Allied Division President, AMN Healthcare
Home healthcare services are the fastest growing industry for jobs in the United States. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that the compound annual growth rate for home healthcare services from 2014-2024 would be almost 5%, resulting in more than 760,000 new job vacancies that will need to be filled.
Surprisingly, despite the growing shortage of healthcare professionals throughout the country, many home health organizations are reluctant to hire therapists and other clinicians who do not have specific training in home health.
With the supply and demand imbalance rising for nearly all types of healthcare professionals, there are not enough home health-trained therapists and nurses in the pipeline to support industry growth. Home health facilities may need to revisit their hiring policies to widen their candidate pool. A reluctance to do so might worsen prospects for filling critical job vacancies, which in turn can affect patient care quality, revenues and competitiveness.
In addition, home healthcare therapists and nurses may not need home healthcare experiences. Patients today are being released from hospitals sooner, and their needs are more medically complex upon arriving at home.
For example, a skilled therapist with sufficient experience in rehab, or a registered Nurse with a medical-surgical, acute, or rehab background, may actually be more adept at treating this type of patient than a home health therapist or RN. And, preparing these clinicians for home healthcare would not be a lengthy or costly process.
Another reason home healthcare choose not to hire outside of home healthcare clinicians is the fear of burdening current staff who would have to devote time for training and onboarding. In many cases, however, it is just the opposite. Therapists who have more recently entered the profession may be highly trained and tech savvy, which can enable them to get up to speed quickly and begin working with patients right away. Plus, they may be easier to assimilate into an organization’s culture.
Agencies may find that filling clinical vacancies with high-quality practitioners who don’t have home healthcare experience is actually a very good option. Amid the growing clinician shortage, healthcare staffing and workforce experts like AMN Healthcare can help home healthcare organizations find the quality staff they need to keep their agency running smoothly—and their patients satisfied.