For a few decades leading up to the current pandemic, many hospitals and healthcare systems had struggled with staff shortages and budget shortfalls. One of the remedies to these challenges brought about the emergence of contract nursing as a meaningful solution and a valuable segment in the healthcare professional landscape. The healthcare employment market pre COVID-19 had always been rather strong, and travel nurse demand saw a steady increase with an approximate running tally of 10,000 open contract nursing jobs at any one time. However, the increasing healthcare crisis in 2020 saw that number of 10,000 open positions rising to over 40,000 at the height of the pandemic.
On top of the unprecedented demand for healthcare professionals, the pandemic turned a lot of what we had grown accustomed in the industry on its head, leaving many to question what comes next, and how does the landscape appear once the pandemic ceases to be a crisis?
The pandemic has brought about some very important realizations that will result in some of the adaptations taken on to battle the spread of COVID becoming a permanent fixture in healthcare systems.
One reality that brought about an exclamation point to what was already a clear issue is the underinvestment in public health in the U.S. and the dire need for infrastructure. Hospitals had let many of the more mundane infrastructure improvements fall by the wayside due to tighter operations budgets. Now the need for isolation and negative-pressure treatment rooms and the upgrade of hospital ventilation systems transforms from a nice thing to have to an absolute must post pandemic.
Being able to make space in hospitals flexible so they can work the entirety of the patient spectrum, an emergency measure demanded by the pandemic, will now become a goal of hospital systems in the future; additionally, a focus on efficiencies in workflow and patient-flow management during the pandemic will become status quo.
One very important silver-lining for healthcare workers that came about during the pandemic was the much overdue appreciation from communities across the globe. There was solidarity and understanding at the risk and sacrifice healthcare professionals took on as frontline soldiers in the fight against the pandemic. A universal understanding of how important it was to ensure the safety of healthcare staff was felt everywhere. Healthcare professional’s duty has always been to serve the community; however, we saw the community return the favor and come to the aid of healthcare professionals with donations of time, money and protective equipment.
Just like the unifying appreciation the United States population had for Firefighters, Police Officers, Military personnel, and other frontline responders during and after the attacks on 9/11, Healthcare professionals are being provided the same reverence in the time of COVID.
Even after the state of the country starts to normalize as COVID cases drop due to health guidelines and the increased deployment of vaccines, the demand for nursing isn’t going anywhere. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a shortage of approximately 200,000 nurses by the year 2026 and estimates that 1,000,000 nurses will retire within the next 10 years. The job market for healthcare professionals will remain strong for some time to come.
The persistent demand will likely be driven by adaptations hospital systems made in response to the pandemic that will turn into permanent mainstays, and the continued aging of the Babyboomer generation. These reasons and more will provide certainty in job security and consistent wage growth for healthcare professionals.
If you are looking for a new adventure in the healthcare field, B2B Staffing Services can help you find your path to your future.