The missions of our children’s hospitals and health systems embody extraordinary aims, and there is one common denominator in fulfilling them: our people. As Emma Sandhu says in this issue’s cover story, “Our people are our most treasured assets. Without our people, we can’t do anything in a hospital.”
Yet the pandemic, the behavioral health crisis and surges in RSV and flu continue strain the workforce, resulting in higher turnover and lower recruitment than the industry has seen. Couple that with the specialized and additional training required to care for kids, and it’s clear that the pipeline of for caregivers must be a priority.
As always, in times of challenge, children’s hospitals and health systems rally together to work toward solutions, like trying new programs to bring the joy back to work or adapting technology to optimize work. Some solutions yield immediate results and others take time. All require efforts beyond the walls of organizations in partnership with policymakers, academic organizations, and communities.
Children’s Hospital Association and children’s hospitals are working to safeguard the pediatric workforce through advocacy, shared learning, and improvement initiatives this year, which include:
- Accelerating innovations in care and staffing models, flexible alternatives, and use of technology to increase the well-being and engagement of caregivers.
- Growing the diversity of current and prospective providers and team members, reflecting the communities they serve.
- Pursuing reauthorization of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME), and advocating for stronger funding and reimbursement via Medicaid.
- Advancing administrative and legislative initiatives to build broader and innovative workforce training programs at the federal, state and local levels.
- Exploring a national campaign to increase appreciation of and interest in careers in children’s hospitals.
To make a difference in the life of a child is the highest calling, and together we are committed to ensuring those who are called can fulfill their missions.