Strengthening the Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Now, Near and Far

June 2022


Strategies and Resources to Support Our Workforce

Dear Colleague:

A talented, qualified, engaged and diverse workforce is at the heart of America’s health care system. However, hospitals and health systems face mounting workforce challenges, including critical staffing shortages, which could jeopardize access to care in the communities they serve.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, health care job openings were at record highs. A January 2020 AHA TrendWatch report examined workforce challenges and opportunities that spanned six broad categories. These included professional shortages, financial pressures, burnout, workplace violence, the evolving workforce and diversity.

For the last two years, the dedicated team members at America’s hospitals and health systems have worked tirelessly to care for patients, comfort families and protect communities during this unprecedented public health crisis.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our health care teams with many suffering from stress, trauma, burnout and increased behavioral health challenges.

Because our workforce is our most precious resource, hospitals and health systems are committed to supporting them today, preparing them for tomorrow and building a pathway for the future.

As we chart a new path together, we have developed this new resource – under the guidance of the AHA Board of Trustees’ Task Force on Workforce and with input from many members of the Association – to help hospitals navigate workforce challenges and opportunities, as well as highlight strategies and resources to assist on these pivotal efforts.

While this is not intended to be an all-inclusive resource, each section includes:

  • Key considerations and questions to drive action;
  • Recommendations for team members to involve in the discussion;
  • Top takeaways and action items for CEOs and leaders; and
  • Resources, strategies and case studies to assist hospital leaders and teams.

This guide will evolve over time and new resources and considerations will be added. Thank you to all of those who contributed. We welcome your comments as the resource continues to evolve.

Ronald C. Werft
Chair, AHA Board Task Force on Workforce
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Cottage Health

M. Michelle Hood
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,
American Hospital Association