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How the pandemic has changed the healthcare workforce one year later

It’s been just over one year since the pandemic began. Since then, Zoom schooling has become the norm, pets have turned into coworkers and you know the UPS guy by name (thanks, online shopping).

As essential workers fighting on the front lines of the pandemic, the healthcare workforce was mercilessly affected during the pandemic. From high turnover rate and staffing shortages to burnout and lack of trust, hospital and health systems staff were hit harder than ever before.

So, what does that mean for the future of the healthcare workforce?

Demand is higher than ever. According to new employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Healthcare job growth is still projected to add about 2.4 million new jobs by 2029

  • Demand for nurses is expected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, faster than most occupations

Why the spike in job openings in the healthcare field? Two reasons. The pandemic alone has simply created more demand for individuals in the field, and hospitals and health systems are rushing to fill the vacancies of those who left the profession, quit due to burnout or retired early during the pandemic.

It’s no surprise that at the height the pandemic, travel nurse demand skyrocketed as hospitals desperately looked for help as COVID-19 hospitalizations surged. However, permanent nurse vacancies are up by 20% from the start of the pandemic.

An increase in demand meant hospitals forked over increasing salaries and signing bonuses for both travel nurses and permanent nurses alike, with average annual salaries increasing from $112,000 pre-pandemic to $122,000 by the end of 2020.

As with most pandemic-related topics, there is still much to be learned. And although so much will remain unknown, demand in the healthcare workforce will only continue to increase.

Source: BLS

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