What can Gen Z medical students tell us about the future of healthcare?

Published On: Aug 12, 2019
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Now that the oldest members of Generation Z are entering or on the cusp of graduating medical school, it's pertinent that recruiters within healthcare organizations prepare to connect with these potential employees. Right now, Gen Zers are in their early- to mid-twenties, and those attending higher education to pursue a medical career are demonstrating some helpful trends.

Let's take a closer look at these emerging concepts coming out of Gen Z medical education, and how human resource and recruitment professionals within the medical and pharmacological field can use these to their advantage.


Interest and options for students are on the rise: Filling employment roles


According to a survey conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of student applications received by higher education institutions has risen more than 50% over the last 17 years. What's more, there are 22 new schools offering college-level medical classes that have opened since 2007.

These statistics show that not only is there considerably more interest in medical-focused higher education on the part of students, but institutions are being established in order to provide the necessary higher education. For employers in particular, it's also interesting to note that 77% of student applicants to medical colleges have volunteered, and 30% seek to work in underserved areas.

This means not only will there be more medical professionals seeking open employment roles, but students currently enrolled or planning to enter medical higher education will be looking for volunteering or internship opportunities. Recruiters in the medical field can use this to their advantage by offering both paid positions for graduates, as well as unpaid roles for students seeking hands-on experience.

The newest generation of medical students experiences higher stress levels than previous generations.The newest generation of medical students experiences higher stress levels than previous generations.




Watch for burnout


One trend that is a bit concerning when it comes to Gen Z medical students is the risk of high stress and burnout. According to a 2019 study published by the National Institutes of Health, medical students from the class of 2016 reported higher instances of stress, leading to emotional exhaustion and burnout.

Study results attributed burnout to several causes, including depersonalization early in students' education.

While burnout is something that all employers should be on the lookout for, it is a particular risk in the high-stress medical industry. However, with this knowledge, recruiters can work to better personalize employment opportunities to align with professionals' interests and other industry trending strategies. Combining more personalized, thought-out employment opportunities with perks like the ability to take personal days (or other stress reducing strategies) can help curb burnout before it becomes a staff productivity issue.


Increased focus on opioid use


Certain high-profile situations like the current opioid crisis will have an impact on Gen Z medical students and the healthcare industry as a whole.

As deaths attributed to opioid use continue to rise, more attention and resources are being devoted to research and finding a solution.

"This is a phenomenon too big to solve by one player - there is a role for everyone across the healthcare landscape, from prescribers to payers, to the pharmaceutical industry, in order to reverse this trend," HIT Consultant noted.

As recruiters prepare to attract the attention of Gen Z medical students, recruiters will need to focus on candidates' ability to work on large, cross-functional teams. To connect with the next generation of the medical workforce, post your next open position to myHealthTalent.com and in a society-affiliated journal published by Elsevier. Right now, Gen Zers are in their early- to mid-twenties, and those attending higher education to pursue a medical career are demonstrating some helpful trends.