Matthew Mawby of Staff Health: In Light Of The Pandemic, Here Are The 5 Things We Need To Do To Improve The US Healthcare System
Allowing nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to play a bigger role in healthcare. For example, 70% of primary care can be handled by advanced practice nurses.
The COVID-19 Pandemic taught all of us many things. One of the sectors that the pandemic put a spotlight on was the healthcare industry. The pandemic showed the resilience of the US healthcare system, but it also pointed out some important areas in need of improvement.
In our interview series called “In Light Of The Pandemic, Here Are The 5 Things We Need To Do To Improve The US Healthcare System”, we are interviewing doctors, hospital administrators, nursing home administrators, and healthcare leaders who can share lessons they learned from the pandemic about how we need to improve the US Healthcare System.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure to interview Matthew Mawby.
Matthew Mawby is the co-founder of StaffHealth.com. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, has over 10 years experience in healthcare staffing and even attended nursing school before deciding to head into a career in staffing. Matthew’s passion for this industry can be traced back to his childhood due to the nurses and other healthcare workers that got their family through difficult times with his brother that was born handicapped.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into our interview, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and a bit about what brought you to this specific career path?
I am the co-founder of StaffHealth.com which is currently facilitating employment for 97,000 nurses. After graduating from the University of Florida and attending nursing school, I ultimately decided to head into a career in staffing, where I had 10 years of experience.
I have a passion for the healthcare industry that stems from growing up with a handicapped sibling and witnessing how nurses and other healthcare workers got my family through those difficult times. My personal experience, employment history, and education give me a deeper, more intimate eye into healthcare.
Today, my mission is to connect passionate and skilled healthcare workers with facilities that need great patient care. My intimate understanding from both sides grants me the skill to connect with healthcare workers and facilities alike on a deeper level.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One interesting story was with an applicant I had for a Certified Nursing Assistant position. She finished her medical degree in a different country that was not valid here in the states. She was having a lot of trouble finding work — she just needed someone to give her a chance. She was so passionate about helping people and working in the healthcare space that I had to give her a shot. I believed in her. All she wanted was a clinical position while she continued to work on her board exams for her medical degree in the US. She worked doubles, long hours, while studying for her exams and gaining a lot of experience with a lower paid position. She did not give up. We helped her create a great work schedule to balance out her studying and work life. She was so grateful that we helped her grow as a clinician while she made time to focus on her MD. She is now an MD and teaches at a Medical School in California. She still tells this story to her students.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
A funny “amateur mistake” early on in my career was referring to Doctors as “Mr or Mrs” as opposed to “Dr.” As a young individual, I was trying to be respectful and instead I was corrected multiple times to use “Dr” and I felt so bad and embarrassed!!!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You glow differently when your confidence is fueled by belief in yourself instead of validation from others”
This is a reminder to believe in yourself and do not quit. Set goals and create healthy habits that will help you go above and beyond! You are in charge of your own destiny!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes. We are focused on the release of our new ”Uber-like” staffing app called NurseShifts. This app connects nursing healthcare professionals with healthcare facilities who are short staffed and have open shifts. Healthcare providers can choose their own schedule, location, and facility.
How would you define an “excellent healthcare provider”?
An excellent healthcare provider is one who has a passion for people, is kindhearted, and a problem solver. Patients need somebody who cares about them more than they care about themselves, and nurses provide that comfort.
Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. The COVID-19 pandemic has put intense pressure on the American healthcare system. Some healthcare systems were at a complete loss as to how to handle this crisis. Can you share with our readers a few examples of where we’ve seen the U.S. healthcare system struggle? How do you think we can correct these specific issues moving forward?
The most obvious struggle that we experienced pertained to the staffing of the healthcare facilities. While the frontline workers were struggling to care for the influx of patients while they, themselves, were experiencing fatigue and burnout. The healthcare facilities were scrambling to staff at even the minimum levels. Many of the Nurse Providers that tested positive for COVID-19 had to quarantine for 2 weeks while staying home much longer than the mandatory quarantine period to take care of their children that tested positive or that were home because of their schools being closed.
Having said that, we feel that there is a “Perfect Storm” coming with the Nursing shortage. We have an aging population, 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 everyday with increases in chronic illness. This is creating an aging healthcare workforce that is retiring many of the frontline workers. Currently 55% of the practicing nurses and 52% of the practicing Physicians are 55 years old or older.
I could go on for hours on my recommendations on correcting these specific issues, but it boils down to:
- Flexible scheduling. This allows the nurses to manage their busy work schedule with home life and educational advancement. In addition, this allows them to decompress between emotionally demanding and stressful shifts.
- Promote career development.
- Listen to the Nurses. Give Nurses that are experiencing burnout prevention resources. Bring back joy, passion, and purpose to the Healthcare workers.
Of course the story was not entirely negative. Healthcare professionals were true heroes on the front lines of the crisis. The COVID vaccines are saving millions of lives. Can you share a few ways that our healthcare system really did well? If you can, please share a story or example.
The healthcare system did a stellar job in advancing the practice of telehealth in a short amount of time to cater to individuals at home who are unable to visit a healthcare facility. For example, sick individuals can get quick medical attention from physicians and nurses from the comfort of their home without physically going into a facility which makes it quicker, safer, and easier.
Secondly, the healthcare system did a great job of highlighting and expanding home health care in the US. This has created a big shift in the healthcare industry by connecting nurses with patients at home in order to decrease the bottleneck effect that has backed up hospitals and long term care facilities.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. As a healthcare leader can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.
- There needs to be a scaling up of the disaster readiness workforce. The federal government needs to have real plans for how they can find healthcare personnel to be readily available during a pandemic.
- Allowing nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to play a bigger role in healthcare. For example, 70% of primary care can be handled by advanced practice nurses.
- A major shift to decentralize healthcare delivery towards preventative care and home health care.
- Revitalize drug manufacturing in the United States. This would assist with supply and mitigate shortages for prescription drugs.
- Closing racial and socioeconomic gaps in access to health care in the US.
Let’s zoom in on this a bit deeper. How do you think we can address the problem of physician shortages?
Create more schools to train more physicians. Make it easier for foreign medical graduates (FMG) to practice medicine in the US. Embrace technology i.e Telemedicine.
How do you think we can address the issue of physician diversity?
Hiring more physicians of color as medical school faculty and staff. This would help ensure that all backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities are adequately represented in health care. It’s all about providing the best possible care to patients.
Developing mentorship programs and partnering with minority organizations could also benefit physician diversity.
How do you think we can address the issue of physician burnout?
Make greater use of non-physician providers such as Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Nurses.
What concrete steps would have to be done to actually manifest all of the changes you mentioned? What can a) individuals, b) corporations, c) communities and d) leaders do to help?
We believe that the pandemic highlighted the shortcomings of our healthcare system in the US. By having the patients/individuals request services such as home health care, telemedicine, prescriptions manufactured in the US, and using non-physician providers could facilitate this change on a larger scale. Individuals can join with communities in voicing their needs for these services and take these decisions away from corporations and politicians.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would inspire a movement that would focus on patient education and advocacy. In my opinion, health care starts with the patient and their needs.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for these insights! This was very inspirational and we wish you continued success in your great work.