Five healthcare recruitment strategies for medical professionals
1) Campus Recruiting
Seeing how most healthcare jobs require specialized training, degrees and character-types, the universities or colleges are always a good place to start the recruitment process. Not only are the people there working diligently to prepare themselves for a career in your field, but often times many of them are still in the process of deciding which sector, specialization or pathway they really want to take. This way, whether you are recruiting for a hospital or a pharmaceutical giant, you can send representatives to university job fairs and know you will have lots of interested parties on either side.
Targeting schools with notable or large medical schools and/or nursing programs, your organization is more likely to receive a qualified, educated and competitive team asset. At the same time, be sure to keep in mind that not all medical careers have to require specifically specialized medical training; medical assistants and medical office managers do not need medical training to take on these more administrative-type roles. Be sure to also canvas business programs and public administration programs to fill these still very important positions.
2) Cultivate younger generations
Embracing the “grow your own” strategy, finding new recruits by reaching a younger audience and shaping them to suit the needs of healthcare careers can be a great way to start. Sending representatives to talk to middle schools and high schools can plant the seed for the ways in which one can achieve a successful healthcare career, and by doing this, you are beginning to cultivate your own workforce from a young age. By giving kids the ability to begin thinking about long-term career prospects, you are exposing their minds to career opportunities while benefitting your organization at the same time. Since some specialized healthcare careers are not as popular as others, kids will now know the extent of the healthcare jobs that are available and profitable for the future.
Though this strategy does not provide immediate candidates for jobs in the current market, it can go a long way to growing a productive and hungry young workforce.
3) Internships and Returnships
A great way to gain public attention for your organization or to embrace the university system is to include either paid or unpaid (college-credit) internships at your organization. This presents a hands-on, company-culture immersed individual to have a trail run in your organization to see how he or she likes the career and the company, while providing your organization with a qualified, young professional. Internships pave the way to promising careers in the field, and with the ability to spend time working with a young college student, a company then has the chance to craft the individual to the specific culture and requirements of the organization, before hiring them as a salaried or full-time employee.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, offering returnships can be a great way to extend the opportunity of possible re-employment to individuals who are taken away from the company for unwarranted or unfortunate circumstances. This adds to the possible applicant pool when searching for people to fill those vacated positions, and if the individual was a hardworker and asset to the company, this allows for you to keep tabs on the people who you feel would do well being back at your organization.
4) Teaching Hospitals
Through the idea of teaching, your hospital or healthcare firm can offer in-house job training to students with the cooperation or teamwork of local universities by offering college credits to employees who can complete certain tasks. This can cut costs by offering in-house training opportunities, and you can reduce the permanent workforce by adding trainee physicians and nurses to the staff pool. If your hospital trains its own doctors, then those individuals will know exactly what the requirements and responsibilities of the position are.
When the training comes to an end, you then have a well-educated and well-trained potential employee to add to the staffing pool. This increases your chances of finding a qualified applicant who will mesh well with the existing company culture and company vision.
5) Staffing Agencies
Since surgeons and specialists have to undergo years of medical training, that means that these jobs are not only hard to fill, but that they are always in high demand. Advertising locally and even internationally will prove to be futile if and when there are no qualified applicants yet available to take those jobs. By partnering with a staffing agency that operates on a national level, you can be in constant communication with bodies of people who know of the best-in-class physicians and where they are located. These staffing firms can market vacant positions across the country and proactively contact people whose credentials meet your available positions needs.
Although sometimes a fee is required when working with staffing agencies, the pay-off from maintaining a hardworking and well-educated employee can outweigh that cost in a matter of months.
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.