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How to Turn Healthcare Into a Cool Career

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   June 13, 2024

Healthcare organizations have to look beyond the money and focus on culture and innovation to bolster the workforce, said panelists at this week’s HealthIMPACT Forum

To take on workforce shortages across the enterprise, healthcare organizations have to be innovative. And that means looking past the money.

“We can’t get into a bidding war,” said Kirk Larson, Aspirus Health’s Chief Technology Officer, noting the Wisconsin-based health system can’t match IT salaries offered by the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple.

And it’s not just IT talent that health systems are struggling to find. Mike Mosquito, CHCIO, MBA, PMP, CDH-E, who heads emerging technology & innovation special projects for the Northeast Georgia Health System, said he has to be creative to draw doctors and nurses from the more affluent Atlanta area to the south.

The two healthcare executives were part of a panel titled “Solving Your Clinical Talent Shortage” at this week’s HealthIMPACT Forum in New York City. Their discussion hit on a topic familiar to every health system and hospital: Trying to keep the employees you have and create an environment to attract new employees.

The challenge lies in making healthcare an attractive career decision beyond the thorny issue of pay. And that means adding perks that appeal to employees seeking a better work-life balance and a good work environment, such as work-from-home opportunities, child and senior care benefits, and of course better workflows.

Healthcare innovation plays a significant role in that strategy. Health systems and hospitals are using virtual care and digital health tools to improve those workflows, aiming to reduce stress and burnout in the workforce and enable doctors and nurses to work at the top of their license—in other words, in front of patients rather than in front of a computer. Some health systems are using virtual care as a hiring perk, with the idea that clinicians can on occasion work from home and senior staff can virtually mentor young recruits and work from a desktop in a telemedicine command center.  

Just as important, the panelists said, are collaborations between healthcare organizations and academic institutions. At the college level, health systems need to actively support healthcare curricula and create opportunities for students to experience what they’re studying to become, from job-shadowing to internships.

That effort should extend into high school as well.

“Help [students] understand where the jobs are,” said Larson, referencing programs that highlight the culture and responsibility of the healthcare industry and the opportunities to apply for positions that are open. He and the other panelists also suggested an easier process for students to apply for jobs—like a blue button for healthcare.

“Don’t always have a money grab,” added Mosquito, noting that some of the coolest, most innovative technology—like robots—is also being used in healthcare.

The panel, which included Sandra Bossi, Senior Director of Clinical Operations Administration at LiveOnNY and moderator Shahid Shah, chairman of the HealthIMPACT Forum, stressed that healthcare organizations need to “speak the language” of today’s emerging workforce.

“You’ve got to attract the kids [and help them to see] this is the path for you,” Mosquito said. “Not everyone’s going to be a TikTok millionaire.”

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation at HealthLeaders.


Health systems and hospitals are struggling with workforce shortages across the board, and can’t compete with other industries on salary.

Many are using innovative technology and strategies to improve workflows and help keep the clinicians and IT personnel they now have.

The healthcare industry needs to interact more with education, from colleges on down to the high schools, to promote healthcare as a worthy career choice.

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