The people working at hospitals and health systems are the heart of health care. They are heroes every day of the week.

Whether performing surgery, caring for patients at the bedside, working in the laboratory or pharmacy, operating equipment for medical tests, cleaning patient rooms or handling the hundreds of other tasks that make health care organizations run 24/7/365 — the health care workforce provides critical services to patients, their families and communities. At the same time, many hospital and health system employees are working in our neighborhoods to help address health-related social needs.

Supporting the health care workforce is an organizational priority that requires creative thinking to refine team models, create a sense of shared accountability, expand education and training opportunities, integrate well-being and advance health equity efforts. Some hospitals and health systems — like Dartmouth Health, the organization I lead — are investing in affordable housing options and working to provide affordable child care to help recruit and retain our valued health care workers. At Dartmouth Health, we also lead workforce development programs for clinical and nonclinical roles. 

The AHA offers a number of excellent workforce resources to help hospitals and health systems support care teams and ensure their health and well-being.

  • Strengthening the Health Care Workforce is a comprehensive guide that focuses on several aspects of enhancing the workforce experience including data and technology, recruitment and retention strategies, diversity and inclusion, and creative staffing models.
  • Building a Systemic Well-Being Program: A 5-Step Blueprint, newly released by the AHA Physician Alliance and the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine, is a step-by-step resource for hospital and health system leaders on addressing burnout. 
  • AHA’s 2024 Health Care Workforce Scan provides examples of how provider organizations are piloting new care models and leveraging existing and emerging digital technologies to augment, support and streamline workforce roles.

In addition, a key pillar of this year’s AHA advocacy agenda is “strengthening the health care workforce,” and we are working with Congress and the Administration on a number of efforts to support the health care workforce.

Hospital and health system employees work every day to make a difference in people’s lives. Solving near-term and long-term workforce challenges calls for leaders, managers and front-line health care professionals to work together and put creative, strategic and well-planned actions in place. 

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