Health Care Providers: Morale on the Brink

There is a middling of morale amongst health care providers, leaving questions about the future sustainability of the profession.

In previous posts, we have discussed perceptions of the “patient as partner” paradigm, as well as the impact of costs on quality of care. But there are considerations outside of direct financial outcomes that have significant impact on the industry overall. In the United Kingdom, junior doctors have been threatening strikes following proposed contract changes. The United States is facing a significant shortage of primary care providers. These two examples underscore the importance of efforts to better recruit and retain providers around the world.

APCO Insight recently conducted a global survey to understand how recent changes in the global health care industry have impacted providers and where these individuals see the industry heading. We surveyed doctors, nurses and pharmacists in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States. In this post, we consider the importance of provider perceptions of their work.

Data indicates a middling of morale amongst global health care providers. A little less than half say they feel somewhat positive about the current state of the medical profession, and only 34 percent feel very positive.

And although the health care landscape differs by country, HCPs agree that the jobs of doctors, nurses and pharmacists have worsened with time (40%). Specifically, few believe that the quality of interaction (36 percent) or that their clinical autonomy (36%) has gotten better with time.

What might help curtail these uninspiring assessments is greater recognition of the work doctors, nurses and pharmacists do – and the importance of this work in improving their nation’s health. Currently, some doctors feel they have failed to be better recognized for their contributions (35%) and even more believe their workload has disproportionately increased (49%).

More broadly, concentrated efforts are required to improve recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Without talented and engaged providers, the ability of health care systems to improve the lives of patients is drawn into question. Thus, improving morale and recruiting better talent is not only about improving HCPs perceptions of their work, but also it is about securing the stability and future of the health care industry overall.