The Future of Soft Skills in Healthcare IT: Trends and Predictions for the Tech Workforce (Part 1)

ZDNet has a grim warning for anyone in IT. A recent article says, “Tech workers face a ‘burnout crisis’ unless employers act now.” Our long-term struggles to find tech talent have left those working in the field overburdened with more than their fair share of tasks. Longer hours and more demanding workloads require a new emphasis on the soft skills that protect IT teams from the grind of their daily tasks. This is particularly true in healthcare, where the constant pressures of data security and the mandate to digitally transform are really taking a toll.

The State of Our Healthcare Developers: Not Great

Almost all developers struggle with burnout these days, but particularly healthcare IT workers. Overall, 62% of technology workers say they are “professionally and emotionally drained.” A study of more than 36,000 technology workers shows that two in five are currently experiencing burnout symptoms. Unless we tackle this issue, the trends show our IT workforce will struggle with this problem for the foreseeable future. Healthcare Dive points out that we’ve had no time to recover from COVID, “as labor shortages stress hospitals and clinicians, spurring increased burnout among staff.” (Ironically, the trends also suggest healthcare teams will treat more patients with mental health issues in the coming years.”

It isn’t just tech workers in healthcare, either. Since COVID, 76% of healthcare workers report burnout. We should point out that burnout isn’t “all in your head,” either, but a real workforce medical syndrome that the World Health Organization (WHO) lists in their International Disease Classification (ICD-11).Healthcare IT teams often experience long hours related to managing complex systems. The high workload, along with the constant state of change in healthcare, can—and is—overwhelming to these teams. Healthcare tech workers face a lack of resources and constant pressure to keep data safe, even as hospital leaders push for digital transformation.

How can IT teams fight their war against burning out? The answer may lie in soft skills and our ability to use them to care for each other and ourselves.

What Soft Skills Do You Need Right Now To Survive the Pressure?

At this challenging time, healthcare IT teams must rely on their ability to manage pressure by using soft skills. Iterating your way out of burnout won’t work, but falling back on non-tech, human coping skills might. Soft skills that can help you alleviate burnout include:

  • Communication between employers and IT workers must improve. Open, honest dialogue is the only way to improve your situation.
  • Time management can help IT workers prioritize a mountain of tasks and manage more effectively. (If you are remote, this means putting a hard stop on when you close your laptop.)
  • Stress management, including taking regular breaks from screen time, can help you manage burnout symptoms.

Healthcare IT workers must act now to build these (and other) soft skills. But their employers should also do what they can to support these efforts to help maintain and retain their existing workforce.

How Prosum Can Help Healthcare IT Heal

Prosum can help alleviate the pressure that IT teams are experiencing by providing temporary talent in order to support projects that require additional time and resources in order to minimize the number of hours spent by existing team members, and therefore minimizing burnout. Further, if employers have IT workers that are resigning due to burnout, we can support the talent acquisition strategy by helping clients hire new talent. And, if you are an IT worker looking for a better environment, talk with our team about changing jobs if you’re struggling with burnout. You’re not alone in this. Prosum can help. Contact us today.