The healthcare industry plays a crucial role in the country’s economy through provision of quality care. In the United States and other developed countries, the healthcare sector faces numerous challenges, which include the rising healthcare costs, the implementation of electronic healthcare records and establishment of information networks (Fottler, Khatri, & Savage, 2010). According to the authors, a typical healthcare organization has numerous healthcare professionals, with the average wage bill making about 65-80% of the total costs in healthcare provision. The human resources management plays important role in the management of the numerous challenges that affect the healthcare industry to ensure high quality healthcare. Their roles contribute to efficiency, performance and quality in healthcare industry.
The human resources in the healthcare include advanced practice nurses, registered nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurse managers, nurse administrators, dentists, midwives and physicians among others professionals (Shipton, Sanders, Atkinson, & Frenkel, 2015). The roles of the human resources management in the healthcare industry include development, hiring, planning, retention and performance management. Although all roles of human resources management are distinct in all sectors, the healthcare human resources management is unique. The healthcare has a dual structure of administration, that consist of clinical managers and health service managers, supervising two distinct set of employees.
The success of health care organization essentially depends on effective management of human resources which is linked to the recruitment and sustention of non-clinical and clinical staff, staff morale and motivation, compensation and benefits management, handling claims, work place safety, monitoring performance and training, administration of meeting, counseling and professional development opportunities. Therefore, the main role of human resource management department in healthcare is the management of all personnel related operations and to develop processes for improving ratings related to patient safety. Apart from these, several other functions are performed by the HRM department in order to provide quality health care and patient safety services.
The human resources management has an important role in the improvement of quality in the healthcare industry. According to (Niles, 2012) the introduction of healthcare reforms have seen many policies put in place to improve patient safety and quality of care. The Obama healthcare reforms have increased the need for healthcare providers to develop mechanisms for improving quality of care and patient satisfaction ratings. Human resources is one of the key healthcare units, whose roles can help enhance the quality of care and improvement in patient satisfaction ratings through hiring of the right employees. Moreover, (Kabene, Orchard, Howard, Soriano, & Leduc, 2006) points the increasing role of human resources management in increasing equity in healthcare service provision.
However, it is not only in the interest of the human resources management to contribute towards quality of patient care. According to (West, Guthrie, Dawson, Borrill, & Carter, 2006) the human resource management in the healthcare industry has a role in the development and implementation of healthcare reforms. They can contribute towards healthcare reforms through the development of initiatives that increases access to healthcare and strategies that help in the improvement of quality of care.
The United States population is in aging owing to the baby boomers; with the largest percentage of the population consisting of people of old age. This has increased the healthcare demands among this segment of the population. The healthcare demands of the aging population have often been reflected in the increased job pressure among the healthcare professionals. (Niles, 2012) points that the increased healthcare demands and high workplace pressure requires a workforce that is stable and committed. According to the author, maintaining low employee turnover in the healthcare industry is important towards meeting the increased healthcare demands. The human resources management plays a critical role in healthcare in reducing employee turnover through strategies such as provision of motivation to the healthcare professionals, improving their workplace conditions and proper remuneration.
The modern healthcare demands have increased and many policies have been enacted to increase the levels of outcomes in the healthcare sector. In addition, new healthcare strategies are continually being adopted to ensure the levels of care and quality are increased. For example, many hospitals are continually adopting the use of evidence-based nursing practice owing to its ability to improve levels of healthcare outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. The healthcare human resources management plays a critical role in ensuring that such practices are implemented through hiring qualified healthcare professionals, whose skills match the healthcare needs. In addition, the human resources management ensures the best healthcare professionals, whose culture matches the individual healthcare unit are employed.
Functions of Human Resources Management in Relations to the Level of Support
The human resources management in the health care field can help address numerous functions that are related to employee benefits, job analysis and design, recruitment, training and retention, motivation and handling of legal, ethical and safety issues related to health care industry.
Job Analysis and Design
The assessment of the healthcare workflow depends on the job analysis by the human resources management (Nica, 2013). Job analysis techniques help in the determination of different tasks associated with job process. Through job analysis, the human resources department can determine the type and level of training and the staffing requirements that can enhance the performance improvement among the healthcare employees. In addition, the healthcare human resources employ job design tools in deciding the tasks and their performance methods, thus enhancing employee satisfaction.
Health Care Employee Benefits
The human resources management deals with different issues related to employee benefits and offers employees various types of benefits to attract and retain them (Niles, 2012). Some of the common types of benefits for employees include the compensation to the workers, unemployment insurance, unpaid family and medical leave and social security among others. The modern human resources management has evolved and more non-traditional benefits have been designed to improve employee performance. The human resources management can design the employee benefits to include such elements as performance bonuses, which can enhance satisfaction and improvement of work performance.
Handling Legal, Ethical and Safety Issues
The healthcare HRM is responsible for training of the healthcare staff on all levels of legislation related to employees, ethics of practice, the legal practices affecting the workplace and creation of an ethical organization culture and safe and healthy working environment (Niles, 2012). In addition, the human resources management has a role in resolution of the ethical conflicts and dilemmas by ensuring the healthcare organization works within the healthcare ethics.
The healthcare setting consists of diverse workforce with different responsibilities. The human resource management in the healthcare industry is charged with the responsibility of creating a workforce that meets the needs of individual healthcare system (Nica, 2013). This is done through the recruitment, selection and retention strategies. The recruitment process ensures the talented and highly skilled workforce is selected for employment.
Employee Recruitment, Selection and Retention
However, recruitment and selection is the first step in employment. The HRM have another important role of employee retention. Since there is shortage of workforce in the healthcare industry and increased workplace pressure due to increased patient demands, the HRM are responsible for the design and implementation of strategies that promote employee retention.
Motivating Health Care Employees
The other core function of the human resources management is the motivation of employees. According to (Niles, 2012) the healthcare system consist of different units that work in a coordinated plan to attain patient care. The levels of outcomes and quality of healthcare does not depend on healthcare personnel skills only but includes the levels of motivation among the staff in provision of services. Accordingly, through strategies such as training, career development programs and empowerment, the HRM can enhance the levels of outcomes and improvement in patient satisfaction ratings.
The Primary Function in Furthering Healthcare Field
The various functions of the HRM in healthcare are all important, however, the recruitment, hiring and retention and primary function in furthering the healthcare field. According to (Fottler, Khatri, & Savage, 2010), the U.S healthcare system is beleaguered by many challenges such as increasing healthcare costs and nurse shortage. The growth of the healthcare field owes much to improvement in quality of care and the levels of outcomes, all which can be attained with sufficient and well trained workforce. The recruitment process ensures the right individuals, with experience and required skills are employed in the healthcare systems. The process ensures individual healthcare personnel who can implement healthcare models that improve levels of outcomes such as evidence-based practice and reduce costs such as use of patient-centered approach (for example the Accountable Care Homes-ACH), are hired. In addition to hiring, there is need for retention of the staff to avert staff shortage. High employee turnover affects healthcare performance and patient outcomes. In order to ensure continuity of care and increased patient satisfaction, there is need for skilled and stable workforce. Therefore the recruitment, hiring process and retention are primary functions of the human resources management in ensuring the growth of the healthcare field.