One of the things I've enjoyed most about starting this weekly column is the opportunity to read your comments. Each week you share what's on your mind, whether that's a compliment, a complaint, a suggestion or an observation.
I welcome and value all of them.
One recurring theme during the last few weeks has come from a couple of areas in our hospitals, and it has to do with staffing levels.
As everyone in our clinical world knows, during the last year or so we have been striving to manage the cost of our largest and most expensive input: labor. Moving to a lower cost structure, both for labor and for commodities, is something we have to do to stay viable in a changing health-care environment.
For the most part, this process of belt-tightening has gone well. Yes, we've asked some staff to move out of their comfort zones, and we've heard some grumbling here and there. But overall, you have risen to the challenge with your usual “can-do” attitude, and I appreciate it.
In a few areas, for a variety of reasons that are more apparent with hindsight, our staffing has been too lean at times. We've recognized that and are actively recruiting new staff to backfill in these areas.
So, yes, I have read your comments, I agree with them, and help is on the way.
Labor management is something that is here to stay. To survive and thrive, we will have to match our staffing levels to our patient volumes.
Even though we have benchmarks and historical data to guide our decision-making, managing this activity with precision can be challenging, especially when unforeseen circumstances arise. Getting your honest feedback is a vital part of the process.
We're all learning, all trying to honor and support each other, as we keep moving forward on our journey to A Healthier Mississippi.