Provider burnout, disengagement and the resulting shortages that follow are the most disruptive forces facing healthcare providers, including those in long-term care, over the next three years. That’s according to findings from a new survey of 551 healthcare executives by staffing solutions firm AMN Healthcare.

The organization’s 2021 Healthcare Trends Survey Report revealed wide-ranging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare industry and how executives perceive that they will affect healthcare management and staffing in the coming year. Beyond burnout and provider shortages, financial pressures and government regulations were cited as the top disruptive forces.

“Burnout and staffing shortages have been a challenge for the skilled nursing industry for a long time,” Elizabeth Raimondi, BSN, RN, told McKnight’s Business Daily. Over the past decade, Raimondi has taken on a variety of interim executive positions at skilled nursing facilities in California, as an employee of healthcare executive staffing agency B.E. Smith. 

“Now you throw on top of that the fact that staff are physically and emotionally tired a year into a global pandemic in which many of them have been personally affected by the virus. They’ve been challenged, and many have experienced losses, all of which contributes to their burnout and stress levels.”

To ensure financial survival, restoring elective procedures and expanding service lines will be top-of-mind this year for health leaders, the survey found. Yet despite the pandemic and all the uncertainties it brought with it for the industry, 63% of healthcare executives still say they are optimistic about the direction of healthcare year-to-date.

“While there are many talent retention, technology, safety and diversity challenges to be addressed, most healthcare executives are optimistic about 2021,” said James Taylor, group president and chief operating officer of Physician & Leadership Solutions at AMN Healthcare. “It’s going to be an interesting year that all stakeholders in healthcare should be prepared to navigate.”

This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.