WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Entry-level health care staff historically have not been well-equipped for career advancement, which may be due to a disconnect between the actual needs of health systems and the training provided by the nation's educational system. Recommendations released today from the Health Career Pathways Task Force aim to address this by breaking down the silos between health care employers and educators, and outlining actionable solutions to better prepare entry-level staff for fulfilling careers that will lead to success and a pathway to the middle class.
According to the Task Force's report, Paving Health Career Pathways to the Middle Class, a collaborative approach to preparing entry-level staff for a career in health care will lead to higher-quality care and a better patient experience.
"When people hear 'health care careers,' they often think about doctors and nurses, but health care employers need well-trained staff who perform a wide range of functions that are vital to keeping the health care industry moving on a day-to-day basis," said Jennifer Stewart, Executive Director, Research at Advisory Board, the health care division of The Advisory Board Company. "These positions continue to be in high demand and can lead to fulfilling careers built on caring for others."
The Task Force – part of a larger Pathways initiative by the White House National Economic Council, Hope Street Group and The Advisory Board Company – believes that building a pipeline of qualified candidates in partnership with community organizations will reduce first-year staff turnover rates and better reflect local patient demographics.
Growing out of efforts by the White House to boost pathways to middle class jobs, The Advisory Board Company convened the Health Career Pathways Task Force, which found that employers and educators, aided by policy makers, can collaborate in eliminating the critical shortage of front-line employees and freeing up higher-skilled professionals to deliver better and more cost-effective health care.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the health care and social assistance industry will grow 19.8% from 2014 to 2024 – three times the 6.5% projected growth of overall employment.
While the health care industry may need new roles to deliver on valued-based care initiatives like population health, the report suggests that health systems and educators first focus on the entry-level roles they need most today such as nursing assistants, medical assistants, and home health aides.
The Advisory Board Company, authors of the report, indicated that members of the Task Force believe that there is an opportunity for education institutions to partner with employers to provide the training that health systems often develop on their own.
"Many health systems used to operate their own academic programs – and many still do – but this is not an area of expertise for them," noted Lisa Bielamowicz, chief medical officer at Advisory Board. "By partnering with educators such as community colleges and high schools, health care employers are taking advantage of the education sector's strengths, which allows them to focus on delivery of high-quality care and improving patient experience."
The Health Career Pathways Initiative includes both the work of the Task Force and Hope Street Group-led implementation of seven regional community-led pilot programs to identify the jobs and skills most in demand, upgrade training, and support job seekers, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Task Force also recommends health systems look to under-tapped candidate pools for qualified candidates.
"The Health Career Pathways Task Force worked with employers, educators, and workforce development groups who have made progress in aligning workforce development and curriculum planning on a regional level to uncover key lessons that can be applied across the country," said Stewart. "By identifying these lessons, our hope is that workforce development efforts around the country can accelerate their program timelines to help meet the increasing demand for qualified talent."
Lessons learned in the report include matching school curricula to employer needs at the regional level; encouraging educators and employers to work together to design curriculum for the new roles that will align with population health care delivery; and considering opportunities for high school students to graduate with the qualifications to enter directly into a health care role.
Achieving a middle-class job when starting from an entry-level position can be life-changing. The report cites an example of a woman's career that began as a food service associate and progressed to nursing assistant, unit secretary, registered nurse, and then nurse practitioner, a job that can pay $100,000 annually.
The report includes a list of resources for organizations that are interested in pursuing their own health care workforce development efforts, including entry-level competencies and job descriptions.
The Advisory Board Company worked with Task Force members representing the health care industry, community colleges, and workforce development organizations: Ascension Health, Banner Health, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Carolinas HealthCare System, Community Colleges of Spokane, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Fairview Health Services, Goodwill Industries International, Massachusetts General Hospital, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Mercy Health West Michigan (a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health), Metrics Reporting Inc., National Economic Council – White House, Northern Virginia Community College, Norton Healthcare, NYC Health + Hospitals, SCL Health, SSM Health, Sutter Health, Trinity Health, and UPMC.
About Health Career Pathways Task Force
The Health Career Pathways Task Force, led by The Advisory Board Company, brought together health care employers and educators to discuss the skills needed in today's health care jobs and outline the professional development approaches needed to help entry-level staff succeed in a fulfilling career in health care.
About The Advisory Board Company
The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO) is a best practices firm that uses a combination of research, technology, and consulting to improve the performance of 5,500+ health care organizations and educational institutions. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices worldwide, The Advisory Board Company forges and finds the best new ideas and proven practices from its network of thousands of leaders, then customizes and hardwires them into every level of member organizations, creating enduring value. For more information, visit www.advisoryboardcompany.com.
About Hope Street Group
Hope Street Group is a national organization that works to ensure every American will have access to tools and options leading to economic opportunity and prosperity. For more information, visit: www.hopestreetgroup.org.
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SOURCE The Advisory Board Company