Healthcare Worker Shortage Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

In an industry already short of workers, hospitals and other healthcare facilities scramble to fill empty positions and to ramp up to stem the tide of a medical crisis. Physicians, nurses, EMTs, and other frontline workers across the nation are contracting COVID-19, as they put themselves at risk on a daily basis. Mobile care units and tents are being set up in hospital parking lots for triage screening and call lines are being staffed to screen those who think they might have COVID-19 symptoms.

Anyone in the medical field is needed, to pull the nation through this pandemic. Italy and China pulled healthcare professionals out of retirement and graduated students early to fill the gap. In the U.S., Zip Recruiter and Glass Door reported a spike in healthcare-related job postings.

It’s not just healthcare workers, either. Any job supporting the work of a healthcare professional is in dire need. Job positions such as environmental service workers, patient access representatives, communications specialists and project managers are in high demand.

If you have a background in healthcare, you are needed. Consider your skill level and expertise. How can you best serve during this crisis?

  1. Physicians: As physicians on the frontline contract COIVD-19, more are being called in to replace them. These include locum tenens positions, temporary or contracted positions.
  2. RNs: Nurses are needed everywhere, from screening in airports to triage tents set up outside of hospitals. Nurses with a BSN or an MSN are needed for biocontainment and quarantine procedures.
  3. EMTs: Just like doctors, EMTs are on the frontlines. They move through the homes and communities of the most vulnerable.
  4. Urgent Care PAs & NPs: Urgent care centers are preparing for an influx of patients with symptoms, as patients more often than not choose urgent care over the ER.
  5. Respiratory Therapists: Respiratory therapists are in high demand, as COVID-19 attacks the lungs.
  6. Microbiologists: Microbiologists are working hectic schedules as they try to understand how the virus lives, grows and interacts with its environment.
  7. Epidemiologists: Epidemiologists are working around the clock to identify those at risk and figure out how to keep the disease from spreading. Since coronavirus carries its genetic code in the RNA, it mutates quickly. Molecular epidemiologists are particularly busy during this COVID-19 outbreak, tracking these mutations.
  8. Laboratory Technicians: A lab tech are also working non-stop to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and control of the disease.
  9. Behavioral Health Professionals: Social Isolation can cause stress and anxiety. There is a wide variety of behavioral health professionals, from therapists to social workers. They help anyone facing stress from the COVID-19 outbreak, but those with a mental illness are particularly vulnerable.
  10.  Environmental Health Experts: With so much unknown about COVID-19, environmental health specialists are working hard to understand the environmental factors involved in the spread of this virus.
  11. Biostatisticians: Biostatisticians conduct statistical analysis for biology-related topics and design biological experiments. During a deadly epidemic, they work hard to identify the source of the disease. Based on the genomic sequencing analysis of COVID-19, biostatisticians have traced the source to either bats or pangolins.

Italy has seen the number of infected patients rise to beyond capacity of their healthcare system and their doctors have had to make difficult decisions about who receives care and who does not, according to USA Today. The U.S. is seeing a comparable growth rate of cumulative cases per day, as more and healthcare workers across the nation become infected. With a persistent shortage of healthcare workers during this pandemic, COVID-19 is predicted to encumber the already strained healthcare system, putting the U.S. on a similar path as Italy. Right now, retired physicians are being called upon to return to practice to help deal with these shortages. EMTs diagnosed with COVID-19 are being asked to stay on duty provided they are symptom-free. It is currently unclear if regulations will be lifted so that medical students will also be recruited to fill in gaps during this shortage.