The healthcare profession itself is founded on the idea of caretaking. No one knows the value of caretaking quite like mothers. At this moment in time, we are seeing mothers working in patient care across the globe leaving their positions at an increasing rate. This begs the question: how can we better support mothers in healthcare?
Why is supporting mothers in healthcare so important?
Women make up the majority of the healthcare workforce (76%, to be exact). Additionally, women outnumbered men in medical schools for the first time in history in 2019. These numbers speak for themselves: women are the lifeblood of healthcare and the future of the industry. Between 2015 and 2019, 84.3% of women in their 40s were reported to be mothers. With so many women in healthcare roles, and the majority of those women being moms, it is vitally important that they are being supported at work.
The benefits of having healthy mothers in healthcare positions extend beyond simply the ethical reasons for supporting working moms. One important argument to consider is that motherhood makes healthcare professionals better at their jobs. Parenthood and healthcare professions require many similar qualities: patience, empathy, communication, problem solving, time management, and so much more. Mothers also tend to possess a more tolerant attitude toward others, which is essential for patient care. Understanding what it means to care for someone as only a mother can is what makes moms more compassionate clinicians who are capable of taking great care of patients. This is why it is so important to value the lives and contributions of mothers in healthcare.
Because mothers in healthcare tend to have more emotional investment in their patients, they can get burnt out more easily. During the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence found that mothers working in healthcare experienced disproportionately more feelings of burnout, as moms are more likely to carry family responsibilities such as meal preparation, arranging childcare, and planning activities, on top of caring for their patients (read more here). Providing much-needed support for mothers in healthcare is crucial to breaking the cycle of nurse shortages, increased clinician workload, and healthcare workers leaving their jobs. Better well-being, increased work-life balance, and internal support from their facilities is needed to retain the hardworking moms who invest so much of themselves into their patients.
How can we better support mothers in healthcare?
Healthcare employers are in a crucial position to offer unique support and services that working mothers need. To keep the valuable talent that mothers in healthcare provide their facilities, employers should consider rolling out a series of benefits specific to working moms.
- Offer stress management resources and support groups.
Healthcare employees work in a stress-heavy environment, and for new and established mothers alike, the pressure can sometimes become overwhelming. Having access to stress management counselors and workshops at their facilities can help mothers in healthcare deal with the emotional toll the profession can take. Facilities should also consider organizing support groups for mothers in medicine. These groups can meet regularly to share their experiences, work through solutions, and create a sense of community. Having these kinds of internal resources available will help boost retention for facilities and increase quality of life for working moms.
- Employ flexible scheduling.
Mothers, especially those with younger children, are juggling dozens of balls in the air at any given time. When family pressure shifts priorities for any mother working in healthcare, facilities should be able to give them the flexibility they deserve. Having “mental health days” or “wellness days” available for mothers to use to take care of their child, or themselves, will help prevent them from using their precious PTO when there are urgent matters at home. In addition, making sure that moms are the first to be considered for part-time hours or job-share opportunities can be a huge difference-maker for facilities who want to retain mothers in healthcare. This will also help make sure that the mothers they employ know they are valued.
- Provide financial wellness assistance.
Mothers shoulder a host of responsibilities, and financial issues can be a stress-inducing challenge on top of keeping a family unit organized. Access to financial wellness training and advice can help support new moms who are trying to budget, mothers planning for college, and every mom in between. For mothers who have student loan debt, are looking to buy a home, or even planning their long-term retirement strategy, financial wellness programs are becoming a much asked-for benefit for employees.
Are you looking for a healthcare contract that meets your needs as a working mom? Apply with Premier!