As the Covid pandemic continues to upend the world, healthcare systems are working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of the national labor shortage facing hospitals and virtually every other industry. 

The incredible impact to the supply chain in our country has had detrimental effects on everyone. Many companies have slowed deliveries, manufacturers have decreased production as a result of worker shortages, and we see the daily impact on the hospitality industry with hotels being unable to staff their welcome desks and restaurants closing because they cannot get workers. And that doesn’t begin to address the problem surrounding the return to school for millions of children who are now vulnerable to the Delta variant of Covid. 

These are all serious concerns, but none is as crucial as the lifesaving work done by our irreplaceable healthcare workers. Our highly trained and educated nurses and clinicians, as well as the teams that surround them, bring not only skill but great compassion to our hospitals and our patients day after day, including during the height of the pandemic. Eighteen months ago, we had little knowledge of how to fight the disease or even how best to protect ourselves, and yet our clinical experts put aside their fear and came to work for our patients. Today we have much more knowledge and experience on how best to protect ourselves, our patients, and our loved ones against the virus and how best to treat patients who develop Covid. The science on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines is overwhelmingly clear. Given the rising transmission rates of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid, we all have a responsibility to protect each other. 

We know the healthcare professions are more than jobs, but they are nevertheless affected by the current economy. Becker’s Hospital Review says there are a million more jobs available than there are people seeking work. For healthcare workers, the pandemic has fueled exhaustion, so many professionals have either changed professions or shifted to per-diem work or left the workforce altogether. Indeed, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll. 

We have been here before, in the very early days of the pandemic. We all remember what it was like to be overwhelmed by Covid, not knowing how to protect ourselves and our families. But how much we have learned since then! And we will continue to learn, together, and share our knowledge with our communities. We might have some difficult days and weeks ahead as the Delta variant runs its course, but I am confident, based on our previous experience, that we will get through it and we’ll get our patients through it. 

At Lifespan we are fully committed to our team members and deeply grateful to our clinical workers, and the entire Lifespan team, for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make. We offer many types of rewards and assistance, in addition to our robust health and retirement plans – self-care, schedule flexibility, competitive pay, wellness programs, access to childcare resources and other family-friendly benefits, and more – both to show our gratitude and to ease their fatigue. As we learn more about our team members’ needs, we will continue to do all we can to address them. Nothing is more important to us than the health, wellness, and satisfaction of our Lifespan team. 

Timothy J. Babineau, MD

Timothy J. Babineau, MD

Timothy J. Babineau, MD is president and CEO of Lifespan.