Why ethical, sustainable healthcare staffing matters in a pandemic

Connie dela Cruz

Posted at Oct 20 2021 08:33 AM

The relationship formed between nurses and their patients is arguably one of the most important aspects in the delivery of healthcare. Grounded on mutual trust and respect, effective verbal and non-verbal communication is an integral part of the nurse-patient interaction, allowing nurses to provide care that empowers patients to be partners in the goal of achieving wellness. These encounters form a fundamental bond that defines nursing as a profession, and an individual nurse’s ability to provide care. 

In terms of healthcare, the practice of nursing drives value through nurses’ direct and intimate influence on the quality, safety and costs of patient-centered care. Through the years, the profession has gone through many changes, becoming more progressive and dynamic. Today, nurses enjoy more autonomy, and despite an increase in responsibilities, nurses of today enjoy a more collaborative relationship between physicians and other healthcare professionals. 

With their multi-faceted roles in today’s healthcare landscape, nurses serve as the vital link between doctor and patient. 

The current state of healthcare staffing, understanding global and local nursing challenges amid the on-going pandemic 

The healthcare industry is integral to the physical and economic health of people across the world. Alongside developments and innovations with how care is delivered through medicine and technology, people are the most important factor that propels the industry forward. 

According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), nursing is the largest occupational group in the healthcare sector, accounting for 59% of all healthcare professionals. However, with just fewer than 28 million nurses worldwide, there is a growing shortfall of about 5.9 million nurses to deliver adequate care for the world’s growing population, prompting calls from the WHO which implore countries to create at least six million new nursing jobs by 2030 to offset the projected global shortfall, especially as healthcare workers across the world are focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Locally, it is essential for investments to be made to further strengthen the nursing workforce to be able to best respond not only to emerging infectious diseases, but also challenges brought about by climate change, aging populations and non-communicable illnesses.

This is where the thrust of ethical and sustainable healthcare staffing comes into play. 

Employing an ethical, sustainable approach to healthcare staffing 

The growth of job opportunities in the healthcare industry continues to outpace the job-seeking market across the world. With this continuing trend, there exists a need to employ an approach to healthcare staffing that is both ethical and sustainable. 

This approach strikes a balance between respecting a prospective job-seeker’s rights, managing migration and protecting the integrity of the healthcare system of that person’s home country amid growing overseas demand for nurses. Ensuring mutually beneficial relationships between both parties involves continuous transfer of knowledge, and working with key players in local healthcare systems in order to ensure smooth and sustainable transitions. 

Light the way: How Health Carousel Philippines leads ethical recruitment and sustainability 

We live in an interesting time when striking a balance between what our local healthcare system needs, vis-à-vis the global demand for nurses is magnified. Throughout the years, Health Carousel Philippines has worked towards balancing these interests through Light the Way – a core principle that drives our organization to lead in terms of ethical healthcare professional recruitment, and to foster sustainable growth and development of people working in the industry. 

Globally, Health Carousel and Health Carousel Philippines has earned the distinction of being recognized as a Certified Ethical Recruitment Firm by the Alliance For Ethical Recruitment Practices – a non-profit organization that promotes fair, transparent recruitment of global healthcare workers for US employment. 

Locally, we put primacy on elevating the standard of nursing through continuous education. This entails partnering with hospitals and schools across the country to facilitate trainings, ensuring candidates are best equipped with a globally-competitive skillset. Understanding this unique time in the healthcare industry, we’ve invested more on these sustainability efforts to further benefit the nurses working in the country. 

The value of ethics and sustainability in improving healthcare systems 

The Philippines is in a unique position to fill in the gaps of the healthcare system in the USA and in other countries across the world through sustainable, ethical, and socially responsible staffing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses is expected to grow from 2.9 million to 3.4 million between 2016 and 2026. Accounting for a sizable chunk in annual remittances exceeding $30 billion annually, the economic effect produced by Filipino nurses serves as a key driver in our economy – prompting calls from within the government to deploy more healthcare workers abroad. 

However, employing ethical and sustainable healthcare recruitment practices helps mitigate the effects of brain drain in terms of industry talent and knowledge and skill transfer.

Also, in reference to the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 Report, it urges all the government and stakeholders to invest in the nursing education, jobs and leadership. This is to address the global needs, meet domestic demand and respond to changing technologies and integrated health and social care. 

As one of the stakeholders, Health Carousel and Health Carousel Philippines are committed to develop and deliver a sustainable nurse recruitment model to address the global nursing shortage, provide care when and where it is needed around the world, and protect countries that are experiencing disproportionate talent shortages. 

In the long term, these practices create win-win scenarios for all parties involved. Not only can the local healthcare system benefit from diversification of experiences, our national economy can also gain considerable returns that can help facilitate sustainable growth. 

Connie dela Cruz is the chairman and co-founder of Health Carousel Philippines.