TikTok trend Threatens Hospital System in Norway

In a recent board meeting at Helse Nord, Agnete Masternes Hanssen, a board member, highlighted the importance of becoming an appealing employer amidst the growing trend of “travel nurses” on TikTok. Hanssen, who joined the board in January and is a trained nurse herself, emphasized the need for hospitals in the north to enhance their recruitment strategies for future success.

The discussion at the meeting also delved into pressing issues such as finances, staffing, and restructuring within Helse Nord. Managing director Marit Lind expressed concern over the concerning trends, stating that all indicators were pointing in an unfavorable direction. One significant challenge highlighted was the persistently high sickness absence rate of approximately ten percent, resulting in a staggering 1,800 employees being absent from work daily.

Reducing sickness absence by just one percentage point could lead to substantial cost savings of NOK 70 million annually for the health company. Moreover, with a mandate to slash budgets by over NOK one billion in 2024, the hospitals in Helse Nord face significant financial pressures amidst these operational challenges.

In a recent development at Helse Nord, manager Lind highlighted the concerning feedback received by the organization regarding its attractiveness as an employer. Lind expressed that they are in direct competition with the private sector, where individuals often opt to work due to perceived advantages such as greater flexibility in working hours and higher earnings.

The challenges faced by Helse Nord were further underscored by the revelation that the organization is short of approximately 1,000 permanent employees, leading to a reliance on overtime and temporary hires. In 2023 alone, Helse Nord spent a substantial NOK 470 million on hired labor, diverting funds that could have been allocated towards salary increases for permanent staff.

Sociologist Astrid Hauge Rambøl raised concerns about the financial strain caused by temporary agencies on Norwegian Health, emphasizing the need to prioritize permanent staff. This sentiment was echoed by Maja Sojtaric, political editor at Nordlys, who emphasized the importance of addressing employee well-being within hospitals and the pressing need for Helse Nord to take comprehensive action in this regard.

Marit Lind, CEO of Helse Nord, acknowledged the impact of past economic challenges on the organization’s attractiveness as an employer. She highlighted how previous budget cuts had resulted in increased workloads for nurses and doctors, leading to inefficiencies within the system. Lind emphasized the importance of task sharing to alleviate burdens on medical professionals and enhance operational efficiency to mitigate potential recruitment challenges in the future.

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