The pandemic of Covid-19 has brought on many changes to our daily lives. From people working from home more to complete shutdowns of cities and countries, it is fair to say that we are living through some truly historic times.
These watershed moments have been particularly hard on medical staff – reports of over-exhausted and overworked doctors and nurses have been trickling in for months and months. Here at Ventura MedStaff, we keep a close eye on the industry as a whole in order to be able to respond to the challenges as they come and keep providing the best travel nurse experiences to our clients as well as the medical centers that hire them.
What Does the Research Say?
According to several studies, the latest one of which comes from Aya Healthcare, the healthcare system in the US has been somewhat strained before the pandemic, and the new reality of the pandemic has pushed the needle well into the red.
The research is mainly based on interviews with healthcare workers on the front lines – mostly nurses. What we’re seeing across the board, both in traveling nurses and core resident nurses is a precipitous drop in job satisfaction and general displeasure with the current situation.
What Is Going Wrong?
The start of the pandemic has seen a lot of misinformation, poor preparedness, and general lack of direction from the health administration. This has led to one of the highest and most severe deaths and infection rates in the developed world.
And nurses and other medical staff were there all along dealing with limited resources and staffing shortages. The physical and emotional impact of the pandemic on nurses is striking and very obvious. The levels of burnout and quitting the profession have skyrocketed over this year and a half.
How Were Nurses Impacted?
Here are some numbers found by the study. Overall, nurses had job satisfaction in the high percentages, as much as 80%. However, as the pandemic kept going, and the situation improved only marginally, job satisfaction went down as much as 21%.
Being a travel nurse agency, we were particularly interested in seeing how travel nurses were impacted by the whole situation, and the situation with them is even grimmer. Prior to the pandemic, travel nurses had job satisfaction in the 90% range. The hardships of the pandemic schedule and the poor preparedness of the system have eroded that satisfaction by as much as 27%.
What Does That Mean for Travel Nurses Going Forward?
With the situation winding down in recent months, many were optimistic that the worst was behind us. Sadly, the hyper-virulent delta variant of the Covid-19 virus has put the pressure back on and there is no resolution in sight.
Just like the study suggests, more and more people will simply decide to move away from their chosen profession and pursue different paths. Needless to say, this will put additional stress on the already burdened system, which is why more and more facilities are opting to hire travel nurses.
In many ways, this pandemic has changed how we work and that might be true for nursing as well. Short-term contracts in regions sorely lacking in manpower have already been in high demand, offering better contracts than most other places. Increased mobility of the workforce is certainly a step in the right direction. However, there are still some hot-button issues to resolve.
If this pandemic persists, medical facilities may have more problems filling the vacancies (with either core workers or short-term travel nurses) unless the right solution is found. The vaunted nursing compact is one such solution – enabling nurses to work in all member states without needing to re-apply for a nursing permit in each of the states they want to work.
Addressing the Mental Health of Nurses
In order to really help their struggling workers, hospital administrators have been under additional stress to provide some quality mental health counseling to their employees. Research has found that these amounts of pressure and stress are impacting interpersonal relationships of the employees, especially between core nurses and traveling staff.
Fortunately, there has been some shift in the right direction, as more and more administrators realize just how valuable their nurses are to the optimal functioning of their facilities. With improved compensation and better working conditions, it may be the best time to consider a travel nurse contract.
At Ventura MedStaff, we do our best to pair our travel nurses with the best facilities with the best conditions out there. If you are looking for a traveling contract, reach out to us.