As 2020 drew to a close, and just as the vaccine rollouts were in their infancy, we wrote about Coronavirus Fatigue and its effects on frontline medical professionals. Now, seven months into 2021, that picture is coming into focus. Healthcare facilities and staffing agencies are facing a big challenge – nursing shortages. Medical employment is changing. A recent study from ATD Research estimates that the United States will face a deficit of one million RNs by 2030. Additionally, the study titled “2021 State of Healthcare Training,” shared some disconcerting figures about the challenges their staffs are currently facing:

  • 70% report more hours worked
  • 56% report increased burnout
  • 52% report higher workloads
  • 37% report increased turnover from nurses leaving (for other jobs or leaving the profession)

Another study by Avant Healthcare Professionals polled more than 100 hospital CEOs, CNOs, and Human Resource Executives as part of their annual survey earlier this year. According to their survey, 36% of hospital executives are anticipating more than 25 openings this year. This is compared to 17% in 2020. Meanwhile, 21% are anticipating more than 50 opens and 11% predicted more than 100 open positions. Additionally, 70% of the same respondents reported that COVID-19 was directly responsible for the loss of 5% – 30% of staff.

The Cost of a Pandemic

On top of the actual shortages and workload challenges, executives are facing another challenge. They are also looking for ways to overcome the cost of pandemic hazard pay and bonuses they offered over the past year. Another increase was the cost of hiring travel nurses at their facilities. In fact, 90% of executives stated travel nurses are currently employed in their respective organizations. More so, 11% of respondents have hired more than 20 travel nurses. Yet, while many organizations are turning to travel nurses, this practice is not without its disadvantages.

  • 80% of respondents noted losing some of their staff nurses to travel assignments at other hospitals.
  • COVID-19 travel nurses are often netting far more in pay than their staff peers.
  • National contract / travel rates are hitting areas with a vastly different cost of living the hardest.

Medical Employment: What it All Means

These numbers may leave jobseekers with numerous questions- regardless if you are currently employed as a staff nurse or are a traveler. Truthfully, though, the answers to those questions may depend on numerous factors. Ultimately, whether you are looking for a local staff position, or considering opting for a travel opportunity, it is safe to say that COVID-19 and the global pandemic has changed the face of medical employment (especially nursing) in the United States.

We would love to hear about your experiences on the front lines.

What are your expectations as many facilities stop offering COVID rates?

Are you seeing delta variant hospitalizations on the rise in your area?