Back to Blog

Continuous Medical Education

Continuing Medical Education (CME): a vehicle for motivation and retention

Healthcare providers have a common goal: to provide the best possible care. In this context, the ability to retain top talent is crucial.

Matilde Ferreira

Matilde Ferreira

June 29, 2021 · 4 min read

All health providers have, in long term, the same goal - to provide the best possible medical care, at the optimal cost, ensuring their competitiveness and future sustainability. To achieve this goal, the ability to find, hire and retain the best human talent is crucial.
Healthcare professionals’ motivation and retention represents a huge challenge both in Western countries, where the demographic context characterized by population aging – that is also reflected in the significant increase of chronic diseases and people with multiple pathologies -, as in developing countries, where the shortage of specialists affects all medical professions.
  1. A study from National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report found that turnover rate in the healthcare industry has risen nearly 5% across all jobs over the past 10 years. 1
  2. A 2018 report from Merritt Hawkins Physician Foundation found that 46% of doctors surveyed plan to leave their current position within the next three years. 2
  3. In 2020, the turnover rate for registered nurses increased by 2.8% and currently stands at 18.7%, 3 and for doctors specifically, the turnover rate is estimated at around 7% annually for physicians in medical groups and a staggering 28% for physicians at hospitals. 1
  4. According to global projections, in 2030, 80 million qualified health professionals will be needed. 4
In addition to adequate remuneration, a company's reputation and collaborators satisfaction plays a major role when it comes to recruiting and retainment. That is incremented by trends seen with the new generation workforce that increasingly value training opportunities and on average, a quarter of them expect to stay more than five years at a company. 5
The current labor market is continuously reshaped by challenging scientific and technological changes that require the ability to adapt both from those who hire and those who are hired.

The need of Upskilling and Reskilling

According to a pre-pandemic World Economic Forum report, more than half (54%) of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling in just three years. 6 In the same vein, learning was the top-rated challenge in 2019’s Global Human Capital Trends report. 7 People rate the “opportunity to learn” as among their top reasons for taking a job, and - from a strategic perspective - guaranteeing life-long training programs, increasingly personalized, has become a relevant competitiveness factor between companies. Particularly in the health sector, the rhythm in which innovation happens - whether technological or not - corroborates the need for updating inherent clinical practice.
Continuing medical education leads to less turnover and, consequently, reduces the effort and expense required for talent sustainability. According to new research, companies that openly discuss mistakes in order to promote learning are four times better retention than those that do not. 8 These are just some of the reasons why, in 2017, 79% of healthcare organizations around the world already admitted adjusting their recruitment strategy to reflect the skills and structures needed shortly, and 82% already included digital training in continuing medical education programs. 9

"The new normal"

In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. 10 But less than half of respondents had a clear sense of how to address the problem. The coronavirus pandemic has made this question more urgent. Workers across industries must figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and companies have to learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities.

The unprecedented speed and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing health care organizations to address many unexpected and critical challenges at the same time. As quickly as issues emerge, executives and their teams must find ways to address them— whether it be removing barriers in the supply chain, scaling technology to support patients and support virtual workers in innovative ways, or complying with new government mandates along with waiver and relief policies. 11

As explained in the previous article, medical education – while not new - is an increasingly important trend and represents an annual investment of more than two billion dollars in the USA. The cost-benefit ratio reveals that in addition to improving personal satisfaction at work and the technical skills of professionals, training programs also contribute to efficient management of available resources and high levels of staff retention.


  1. Nursing Solutions | 2017 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report | [internet] available at
  2. Merritt Hawkins Physician Foundation | AMERICA’S PHYSICIANS Practice Patterns & Perspectives | [internet] available at
  3. Nursing Solutions | 2021 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report | [internet] available at
  4. Keck School of Medicine | A Closer Look at the Public Health Workforce Shortage | [internet] available at
  5. Deloitte | Millennial Survey 2018 | [internet] available at
  6. World Economic Forum | The Future of Jobs Report 2018 | [internet] available at
  7. Deloitte | From careers to experiences: new pathways - 2018 Global Human Capital Trends | [internet] available at
  8. PWC | A new treatment?: Healthcare findings from the 20th Annual Global CEO Survey | [internet] available at
  9. McKinsey & Company | To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now | [internet] available at
  10. Deloitte | COVID-19 recovery for the health care ecosystem - Gearing up for the next normal | [internet] available at
Matilde Ferreira

Matilde Ferreira

Content Strategy & Communication Manager

Graduated in Communication Sciences, early on fell in love with storytelling. Started off as a journalist and then pivoted to the public relations world, she was always driven to craft relevant stories and bring them to the stage.

Get the latest on UpHill resources.