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October 12, 2022
David Burda
Economics Outcomes System Dynamics

A “Great Resignation” Reality Check

In journalism, you’re told that if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out. In other words, you can’t believe anything anyone says — even your mom — without verifying it with a credible source.

In my nearly 40 years in journalism, I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty accurate in my reporting. I can count on one hand the number of mistakes I made that required a correction. They still haunt me.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading a lot and hearing a lot about the “great resignation” in healthcare — people quitting their jobs at levels not seen before. I’ve taken it at face value.  Why would healthcare consultants, vendors, suppliers, trade associations and professional membership societies lie about such things?  (Sarcasm intended.)

So, feeling guilty about accepting the “great resignation” in healthcare as fact, I decided to check it out by looking at some statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. And, as far as the BLS is concerned, the “great resignation” in healthcare is true.

Here are the BLS numbers:

The number of people who quit their healthcare jobs in 2021 jumped more than 25 percent last year. If you were to pick a year that the “great resignation” started in healthcare, the answer would be 2021, or a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This year will be more of the same. Through August of this year, 4,266,000 people quit their healthcare jobs, according to the latest figures from the BLS. With resignations averaging about 533,000 a month, my basic math tells me that the total for 2022 will be 6,399,000. We’ll see.

At the very least, I can reference the “great resignation” in healthcare in my stories with confidence because I finally checked it out. I do, though, assume that my mom loves me.

Thanks for reading.

About the Author

David Burda

Dave Burda began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes this monthly column “Burda on Healthcare,” contributes weekly blog posts, manages our weekly newsletter 4sight Friday, and hosts our weekly Roundup podcast. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers — patients — are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow.

Dave’s personal experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and family caregiver have shaped his point of view. It’s also been shaped by covering the industry for 35 years as a reporter and editor. He worked at Modern Healthcare for 25 years, the last 11 as editor.

Prior to Modern Healthcare, he did stints at the American Medical Record Association (now AHIMA) and the American Hospital Association. After Modern Healthcare, he wrote a monthly column for Twin Cities Business explaining healthcare trends to a business audience, and he developed and executed content marketing plans for leading healthcare corporations as the editorial director for healthcare strategies at MSP Communications.

When he’s not reading and writing about healthcare, Dave spends his time riding the trails of DuPage County, IL, on his bike, tending his vegetable garden and daydreaming about being a lobster fisherman in Maine. He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his lovely wife of 35 years and his three children, none of whom want to be journalists or lobster fishermen.


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