The Healthcare Twist on the Great Resignation

The mass exodus of unhappy workers — also known as the great resignation — has hit traditional healthcare harder than many other industries. The field has recently lost around 20% of its workforce, including 30% of its nurses.

In 2022 alone, millions have quit their healthcare jobs — but why? According to one report, 28% of them quit due to burnout.

This great resignation creates fears of future staffing shortages, but it also raises another question: Where are these healthcare workers going? 

Many take other jobs in the healthcare industry, resulting in doctors and nurses pursuing other medical disciplines,including the field of functional medicine.

Related: Embracing Lifecycle Health

COVID-19 Accelerates the Healthcare Worker Burnout

Healthcare workers took a unique hit during the great resignation — the pandemic caused many of them to be affected by death, trauma, misinformation, and abuse on a massive scale. The result was healthcare workers were unable to perform their jobs safely and with the same satisfaction.

We cannot underestimate the effect of COVID-19 on our healthcare workers.

In some of the major cities reported by news, the frequency of tragedy and death, especially during the peak COVID waves, was more than most healthcare workers ever experienced. The number of deaths across the age spectrum was more than many nurses and physicians knew how to process.

And with many healthcare clinics closed to the public during the height of the pandemic, the connections between healthcare professionals and their patients suffered. 

Finally, the politicization of many healthcare decisions was (and still is) highly stressful to doctors and nurses across the country. These healthcare workers interact with patients, families, and colleagues, behaving uncivilly.

Doctors Moving Towards New Medical Disciplines

During the great healthcare resignation, physicians search for new ways to treat their patients better while still caring for themselves. And the field that many have gravitated to is functional medicine.

Functional medicine allows physicians to take a personalized approach with their patients, re-establishing the connection they lost during COVID closures.

This field also helps alleviate the shortcomings of conventional medicine that many healthcare professionals are finding during this period of extreme burnout. And while conventional medicine will always play a role in urgent and acute care, it’s hard to ignore its shortcomings in other cases.

Thinking about moving to a different discipline like functional medicine? See how we can help you find the perfect role.

But why this shift to other medical disciplines? Why functional medicine specifically?

Functional Medicine Is More Important Than Ever

Functional medicine isn’t about treating symptoms; it’s about identifying and addressing the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms. Functional medicine doctors aim to treat the whole person.

Aside from the typical shortcomings of conventional medicine, various trends worldwide are making a perfect storm of healthcare crises. The pandemic aside, chronic illness rates continue to rise — so are treatment costs.

Related: How MBT Fuels the Wellness Revolution

This predicament can mean more profit for the world’s largest industries, like pharmaceutical companies — solving these chronic illnesses rather than treating them isn’t necessarily in their best interests.

Doctors and healthcare professionals are gravitating to functional medicine to solve the issues of:

  • An increase in chronic illnesses
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • The “profit before patients” mindset
  • Fewer choices for patients
  • A lack of privacy

The Traditional Healthcare Resignation: Making the Move to Functional Medicine

We could talk about physician burnout all day — and COVID-19 only made it worse — but we’d we’re more excited to focus on where the healthcare professionals are going after resigning.

The move to functional medicine creates a new model for primary care — one based on relationships, leading to better outcomes for doctors, nurses, and their patients and colleagues.

Some of healthcare workers’ greatest skills include connecting, listening, and collaborating across highly complex systems; however, they rarely get to use those skills in the “one and done” mindset of conventional medicine.

Functional medicine allows these healthcare professionals to lead a fulfilling career by working together with each other and their patients instead of sending a referral or prescription and moving on to the next number in line.

Functional Medicine Practitioners Must Adapt To the Post-Pandemic World

Going beyond COVID-19, healthcare workers — and the healthcare system as a whole — must undergo serious changes, or the great resignation may only worsen.

Providers and health systems must have open and honest discussions about the future of healthcare, including topics like:

  • Admitting the nature of the problem: There’s no shortage of talk about the challenges of physician burnout and resignations. And our relationships with both our colleagues and patients contribute significantly to that burnout.
  • Prioritizing relationships: Patient satisfaction, revenue, and efficiency drive healthcare organizations. However, when these forces collide with isolation, disconnection, and a decreasing sense of purpose, the result is an unsustainable recipe for burnout.

Patients Prefer Functional Medicine Post-Pandemic

There’s another reason why healthcare providers are increasingly taking a functional medicine approach: Patients are rapidly moving to functional medicine practitioners, especially in the post-pandemic landscape. 

They’re sick and tired of, well, being sick and tired. They don’t want a pill to fix their symptoms; they want a personalized treatment plan to better manage or eliminate them.

Functional medicine focuses on health and takes an evidence-based approach to treatment. It’s also patient-centered — providers look into why their patients aren’t feeling well instead of only treating their symptoms.

Functional medicine is personal. Providers put their patients in charge of their health. It’s a joint effort to develop a plan that allows each individual to pursue their ideal health and take control of their well-being.

Patients are ditching procedures and prescriptions in favor of treatments that do more than alleviate symptoms; they tackle your health problems as a whole.

The time to make the move to functional medicine is now — learn how we help wellness practitioners provide expert service at Mindbody Talent.

Healthcare Has Been Affected By the Great Resignation

Undoubtedly, the great resignation significantly affected (and continues to affect) the healthcare industry. However, it’s not all bad.

Because many burnt-out healthcare workers are turning to functional medicine after leaving their other roles, doctors, nurses, and patients are all experiencing better outcomes.

The healthcare twist on the great resignation doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster — it can be a recipe for much-needed change in the field.

Related: Fueling the Healthcare Revolution

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