Professional Development (PD) plays a vital role in expanding knowledge, staying current with innovations and enhancing the ability of individuals in any career pursuit. PD is especially necessary in the field of health to maintain and improve medical practice standards across the region while maintaining a quality workforce.
As highlighted in a Business News Insider article, encouraging employees to seek PD once employed is part of a healthy business process. ,[PD] governs the employee’s readiness to contribute to the company in new ways, whether the company adopts a new strategy, expands or needs change,” says Steve Hoter, vice president of learning and development at The Learning Experience.
Conversely, according to GoBankingRates, a high turnover rate that exceeds the normal 18% limit can be detrimental to a business because the cost of replacing an employee can fluctuate anywhere between 33% to 200% of that employee’s salary. Can
Todd Brooke, managing director of employee engagement platform EngagementMultiplier, further noted that 67% of costs are “soft costs” in internal resources used in recruiting, hiring and training new employees.
By many accounts, the sector has warned of impending challenges to the talent vacuum in healthcare.
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The National Library of Medicine is using a method developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration to estimate the future shortage of health specialists. Edward Salsberg, senior director of the Center for Workforce Studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and colleagues estimate that by 2025 there will be a shortage of between 124,000 and 160,000 full-time physicians. While future supply and demand scenarios were examined, including the expansion of graduate medical education (GME) training, the study predicts supply short of demand. “We could be in a terrible crisis,” Salsberg says.
Since the pandemic, healthcare has experienced strains and demands that have led to a reduction in efforts and efforts to increase the pool of professionals. According to a McKinsey report, more than 30% of nurses consider leaving direct patient care. As a result, this is increasing the need to not only fill vacancies but also ensure proper training of professional staff.
The health care professional void is being experienced in all forms of patient care, from medical offices to dentistry. According to Dr. Giri Palani, a Marquette University and UCLA-trained professional, as the dental profession becomes increasingly demanding, it has affected the results in the field. Part of the problem is the lack of training in transplants. As of early 2004, correcting bad dental work has seen a 30% to 40% increase and is a large part of his current work.
Palani believes this is a problem that can be avoided through continuing education. “The learning never stops on this job, no matter how skilled you are,” says Palani. If dentists commit to rigorous and continuous learning and know their limits, it will save patients a lot of time, pain and money.
Michael S. Reddy, DMD, and dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry, recently summed up the benefits of lifelong learning and exploration as a way to advance in the profession. “As a premier academic health institution, how can we transform from scalable efficiency to scalable learning to encourage innovative thinking at a new level?” he asks. “If instead of focusing on executing routine tasks, we all are inspired to discover ‘the passion of the explorer,’ I can only imagine how far we can go together.”
Institutions such as the University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry, are establishing programs to encourage continued growth and success as teachers, practitioners, and researchers. The focus is on deep learning and biostatistics for mid-career health professionals. “It is important to recognize areas in which we can improve and be prepared to continue learning. Lifelong learning is a cornerstone of the dental hygiene profession,” said Yvette Riebel, EdD, RDH, and University of Minnesota Clinical Associate Professor and Dental Hygiene Says Clinical Director in the Division of
Active professionals like Dr. Palani, who focus on cosmetic dentistry and repair of misalignment every day, are especially keen on continuous learning. “Even the top dentists in the industry understand they don’t know everything,” says Palani. “Cosmetic dentistry is a niche of lifelong learning. New technologies, research and procedures emerge regularly, and we must keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry.
For people like Palani, learning starts early and grows from there. “As a young professional, I shadowed some of the best oral surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, and general dentists in Beverly Hills, New York City, and around the world,” he says.
“I used to visit their offices and glean from their knowledge and experience. This was during my time as Chief Resident in the General Dentistry Program at UCLA in Advanced Education. And before that, I studied Hospital Dentistry at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Learned from the top surgeons in the program.”
Humility and an appetite for assimilating knowledge seem to be essential factors in the process. “Continuous learning is the key, but first, there is learning, and then practice, not the other way around,” says Palani. “While learning, make sure you can fix bad dental work. The demand for dental repair work is very high, and this is something any dentist should understand.”
Hiring of in-house labs and dental technicians as part of the process is slowly gaining popularity. For those in the profession, the in-house laboratory augments the knowledgebase requirements for all involved, including the support team and professionals.
“In the US, historically, only about 1% of dental offices have had their own in-house dental lab. Our in-house lab means we can design and manufacture complete dental prostheses for our customers with a high degree of control over the process.” “With an in-house lab, there is complete control of design, quality and aesthetics, leading to better patient outcomes. Also, we stay abreast of the techniques and technologies that allow us to treat many patients successfully. Helped people who were told they were not good candidates for dental implants.
As the health profession continues to struggle and sustain, the need for more education is critical to maintaining the standards and practices that ultimately affect patient care. Pointing effects found in the cosmetic dentistry industry represent a microcosm of the challenges facing the healthcare sector experiencing new demands.
Updated knowledge acquisition to meet patient needs in a timely manner is critical for patient and research outcomes, but continuing learning appears to be equally essential for all workers within and across health care systems.
According to Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, professional development can play an important role in developing a strong team. The Harvard report further points to clear company data that suggests 94% of employees would consider staying longer if more professional development opportunities were made available. The longevity of those with the remaining knowledge within the professions is an additional element in the equation.
For some career professionals, continuous learning is the key to better patient care and an enthusiasm that keeps the professional fire burning. “Cosmetic dentistry is a science, and like any other science, it will never reach a final state of knowledge,” says San Francisco-based Dr. Jorg-Peter Rabanus expresses.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.