There is a significant shortage of pediatricians slated to become worse and more widespread in the coming years. In The Pediatric Lounge’s article Specialty of Pediatrics in the USA: Workforce Shortage and Moral Injury it touches on the critical issues facing the field of pediatrics in the USA, focusing on challenges of workforce shortage and moral injury among healthcare professionals.
- Workforce Shortage: The USA is experiencing a severe shortage of pediatricians, which is affecting the overall quality of healthcare for children. This shortage is caused by many factors that include an aging population, increased demand for pediatric services, moral injury, poorly designed financial incentives, and a decline in the number of medical students choosing pediatrics as their specialty.
- Moral Injury: The moral distress faced by pediatricians is rooted in their genuine desire to help children and provide the best possible care, but women physicians in particular often find themselves constrained by work-life balance, biases in the workforce, and the social wars of society.
- Impact on Pediatricians: The combined effects of workforce shortage and moral injury are taking a toll on pediatricians’ well-being and job satisfaction. This will lead to many healthcare professionals reporting increased levels of burnout, especially among women physicians, decreased productivity, and more turnovers in the healthcare industry. This negatively impacts the overall workforce and could deter others from pursuing a career in pediatrics.
The article gives several potential solutions to address the workforce shortage and moral injury to support and retain women pediatricians:
- Work flexibility and addressing bias within the workplace.
- Encouraging more medical students to choose pediatrics as a specialty.
- Available resources that tackle work-life balance.
- Advocating for policy changes to address systemic issues in healthcare.
By implementing targeted measures and systemic changes the quality of pediatric care can be improved, and the well-being of healthcare professionals can be safeguarded.