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3 ways to secure future competence supply in the primary care sector


by Louise Wahlström

In order for us to maintain a healthcare system of good, equal quality in the whole country, it’s absolutely crucial that we succeed with the competence supply. This is also a prerequisite for the success of a person-centered care. Competence provision is primarily the opportunity to educate, recruit and retain the right trained employees, and how the employees’ competence are utilized. In several parts of the country concerns are being raised for the future of competence provision. Therefore, we have listed three ways to secure the supply of competence at your healthcare center.

1. Invest in computer development

Competence development will always be of great importance to the healthcare sector. It’s an important success factor for your healthcare center to both be an attractive workplace and an obvious choice for the patients. In an increasingly rapidly changing healthcare sector, the importance of competence development for the healthcare professionals has increased. It’s important not only to keep up to date in medical development and our own area of expertise, but also to keep up with the digital development. It’s also a key to motivate the employees to make changes in, for example, working methods.

In a survey conducted by the Swedish magazine “Framtidens Karriär – Sjuksköterska” in February 2019, two thirds of the nurses surveyed stated that they have too little or no time to develop nursing skills and implement new knowledge. Nursing care accounts for more than 50 percent of the healthcare operations and is of great, sometimes crucial, importance to meet the patients’ basic needs. A development of nursing skills and implementation of new knowledge is therefore extremely important in order to make nursing both better and safer, to prevent damage to healthcare and to reduce inequality. By devoting more time to the development of nursing skills and the implementation of new knowledge for nurses, the status of nursing within healthcare is also improved.

2. Become an attractive employer

A majority of the respondents in the survey believe that there is a poor staff policy and that there is a need to make the nursing profession more attractive. The goal must be to get existing employees with competence to stay in the profession. As it is now, existing employees are worn out at too high of a rate to have lasting competence present over time. There are few nurses who can work full time and even young people are at risk being burned out. Poor working environment, tough working hours, stress and the feeling of inadequacy are the most common causes for nurses to resign.

The leadership in healthcare is often ranked as an important factor for an attractive workplace. However, most nurses consider that the first-line manager in healthcare doesn’t have the right conditions to conduct good management and leadership. By improving the conditions for leadership, the attractiveness of the workplace can be increased. Relief and support with administration, for example when recruiting, is a measure that can give first-line managers better conditions to conduct good leadership. Another crucial factor for managers to be able to do a good job is that they have access to regular competence development and that they have access to support in the form of, for example, mentors and exchange of experience with other managers.

3. Work in cross-professional team

To succeed you also need to work on introducing new ways of working and getting different healthcare units to cooperate. The provision of competence is one of the greatest challenges facing healthcare. Another challenge is that the healthcare sector and the patients should generally be better at using the digital tools and resources available. Success factors for the nearby healthcare to fulfill future missions are to find more structured and strategic prevention work and to make the patient more active and involved in their own care.

This change is also not possible without close cooperation between different levels of care. By having employees with different specialist competences sharing their experiences openly and often, it contributes not only to the participation but also to a competence development for all employees. It shows that each person’s competence and perspective is valuable and appreciated. It also makes it easier for patients who receives a holistic approach from their healthcare provider. Stress will also become more manageable when you get to be involved and influence. Cooperation and collaboration at the healthcare center between the professional groups is something that has been proven to reduce stress and create a better work environment for employees. It’s becoming increasingly more common for healthcare centers to introduce rounds where they meet and talk about their patients on a daily basis, without breaking privacy.


In order to maintain a healthcare system of good, equal quality throughout the country, it’s absolutely crucial that we succeed in the provision of competence. One way to succeed in this is by investing in competence development, which is also demanded by the employees according to a new survey conducted by the Swedish magazine “Framtidens Karriär – Sjuksköterska”. Another way is to be an attractive employer. As a leader, you play an important role, as it is your responsibility to create a work environment where the healthcare employees thrives and can develop. A third way to succeed in the provision of competence is to work in more cross-professional team at the healthcare center. Through different specialities and professional groups working together on patients, a deeper learning and natural competence development is created.

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