Thursday, August 24, 2006

NEW SURVEY UNDERSCORES CRISIS IN SHORTAGE OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

New York, NY, August 25, 2006 — Shortages of health care professionals continue to challenge health care organizations throughout the country and a new survey reveals that the increased demand is outpacing the growth in supply of new health care professionals. This problem is intensifying as a result of graying Baby Boomers growing use of health care resources across the country, according to Shyrl Johnston, Senior Partner, JWT Employment Communications, citing the findings of the “Metrics Online™ 2005 Year-End Report.”

“The nursing shortage has received much attention for some time. However, the shortage extends beyond nurses into other categories of health care professionals,” said Ms. Johnston.

“The shortage of health care professionals is strongly reflected by the number of days it takes to fill open positions. There are simply not enough candidates in the current market place to fill the open positions in many hospitals and health care facilities across the country.” said Cathy Allman, National Association for Health Care Recruiters Executive Director

JWT Employment Communications, one of the world’s leading recruitment marketing and internal communications agencies, partnered with the National Association for Health Care Recruiters (NAHCR) to develop the Metrics Online™ Program.

Metrics Online™, is a national database, developed by JWT Employment Communications, that aggregates the data submitted by human resources professionals to provide national benchmarks for vacancy, turnover, cost per hire, days to fill and days to start. These benchmarks show national trends for the health care workforce and are used as guidelines to determine staffing, budgetary, and workforce retention plans at health care facilities.

Key findings of the NAHCR/JWT Employment Communications Metrics Online Report include:

•Based on full time equivalent positions (FTE) the overall vacancy rate for nurses is 10.1% and 20.8% for occupational therapists and 10.3% for speech therapists.

•The vacancy rate for rehabilitation professionals is high: 20.8% for occupational therapists and 10.3% for speech therapists on an FTE basis.

•The turnover rate among nurses is high at 11.3%and even higher among critical care nurses.

•The turnover rate for occupational therapists is 21.8%.

•Nearly 55% of all open rehabilitation positions took 60 to 90-plus days to fill, including 75% of physical therapist positions, 71% of respiratory professional and almost 68% of occupational therapists.

•More than 30% of open nursing positions required 60 to 90-plus days to fill.

“The continued nursing shortage results from tougher educational standards and the failure of the educational system to expand its capacity to train nurses. Last year 30,000 qualified candidates were turned away by four-year colleges because of a shortage of seats. Even larger numbers of qualified candidates were turned away by two-year nursing academic programs because of a shortage of instructors,” said Ms. Johnston of JWT Employment Communications, who directed the Metrics Online™ research. “Health care providers must continue to aggressively address the challenges presented by the shortages of all health care professionals.”

“Employers who will be most successful are those who have innovative recruitment and retention programs and remain focused on developing a retention culture,” added Ms. Johnston.

She warned that “the demographic phenomenon of aging Baby Boomers has begun placing unprecedented demands on the U.S. health care system, encompassing acute, chronic and rehabilitative resources.”

Cathy Allman added, “In order to meet the country’s health care needs we must continue to engage young students’ interest in a career in health care and provide an educational track for them to enter college programs and pursue health care careers. Educational systems, government and private sector must also provide scholarship opportunities for health care educators, and funding for faculty and labs for health care students. And health care organizations must be diligent to make sure they are serving the needs of their employees with competitive compensation and benefits. Employers need to create and maintain positive work environments that allow employees to feel valuable and have input in their practice on clinical, professional and other issues.”

For more information on the Metrics Online 2005 Year-End Report, contact Cathy Allman at (407) 481-2893.

JWT Employment Communications helps employers attract, recruit and retain staff through comprehensive advertising, marketing and recruitment communications services, measurement tools, consulting resources and strategic approaches to talent acquisition and management. The agency has 32 offices across North America and internationally. It is a subsidiary of JWT, an agency of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) that ranks among the oldest and largest full-service global advertising agencies.

The National Association for Health Care Recruitment provides leadership and support to the health care recruiting profession through advocacy, education and professional development. NAHCR has more than 1,000 members nationwide, serving nurse, allied health, physician recruiters and human resources professionals; working in hospitals, home care, long term care, rehabilitation facilities, HMOs, schools of nursing and the military.

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