Nurse manager Cullen Anderson, RN, screened people in the line of cars waiting to be tested for COVID-19 coronavirus at the drive-thru test station at St. Meridian Medical Center. Luke in Idaho on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Darin Oswald | Idaho Statesman | Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Maeleigh Soper, a travel nurse based at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, sat and cried with one of her young patients last month.
Soper works in the hospital’s oncology unit where cancer patients are separated from visitors, including families, to protect those with compromised immune systems from coronaviruses.
“Last week, all my patients were very emotional,” Soper said. “I sat there and cried with one of them because he was very young and could not have his mother there, and it was very sad and scary.”
Corona outbreaks that damage parts of the US have changed the health care system. Across the country, hospitals are fighting for doctors, nurses and protective equipment, and travel nurses like Soper, originally from Columbus, Kansas, help fill the void as state and federal officials struggle to try to curb up to 240,000 of the projected deaths to an end. coming weeks.
Travel nurses are relative small portion of 3.8 million registered nurses in the US, but they are very important in bridging the supply gap when hospitals demand more personnel. Now medical staff firms are racing to fill the expected holes in hospitals preparing for the unprecedented influx of patients with COVID-19 across the country, which now has at least 337,600 confirmed coronavius cases.
Aya Healthcare, one of them the largest temporary health service Company staff in the country said it had dispatched 800 doctors in less than three weeks to hospitals across the country. While hospitals usually give staffing companies three weeks to fill positions, April Hansen, an executive vice president at Aya, said the hospital had begun asking for temporary staff within three days.
“We have a client in Florida who has to stand up to a very large test site for coronavirus, and that client gave us about 24 hours before they needed 46 doctors,” Hansen said.
Dan Weberg, head of clinical innovation at the trusted health care staffing firm, said the company had seen hundreds of jobs posted to the company’s website in one day. In the past 30 days, three to four times more job posts have been seen compared to other months, he said.
The list of most jobs is in states such as New York, Washington and California where coronavirus outbreaks have spread rapidly. Officials from the state have repeatedly asked medical professionals to come out of retirement and have graduated medical and nursing students early to help hospitals fight the corona virus.
Even before the pandemic, many hospitals, especially in Indonesia rural area, already experiencing nursing shortages because the accelerating rate of retired nurses in the coming years is paired with an aging Baby Boomer population, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would need 45,000 additional medical personnel to fight the pandemic that swept across the city. Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo called on health workers across the country to travel to New York, which was responsible for almost a quarter in all cases in the U.S., to help the country fight the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country.
‘State of war’
“We are in a state of war, but we cannot go to war without ammunition,” de Blasio said in a statement. “To those on the front lines: your city is behind you, and more help is on the way.”
Many hospitals across the country are building teams to treat COVID-19 patients specifically and staffing firms report that temporary travel nurses are the first to be placed with them, ordering hospital core staff for other daily functions.
However, staffing companies worry that as the pandemic continues, travel restrictions can make it difficult for medical professionals to travel from one country to another. Besides that, they have asking the country to relax licensing regulations so nurses can quickly respond to positions in various countries.
On Tuesday, 42 states and Washington DC temporarily ruled out certain licensing requirements and 24 states were smoothing licensing for retired or inactive doctors, according to data from the Federation of State Medical Councils.
The nurse feels like a ‘shield’
“There are some countries that have not changed the process, even though they have declared a state of emergency,” Weberg said. “So it’s more difficult to bring nurses to the state.”
The entry of medical personnel also presents a challenge to the hospital system that has been depressed, which in many cases has struggled to supply medical personnel with the recommended amount of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, face masks and face shields.
“They are exposed. They don’t have enough equipment and they will burn like everyone else,” Weberg said. “But they are more subject to him now because they really are in a war zone.”
Hansen said Aya “handled the situation every day” from doctors who reported working in areas where they felt they would run out of important personal protective equipment.
Lauren Rodriguez, a travel nurse from Chicago who works in the San Francisco area, said that at least three of her friends who are also travel nurses have been tested for the corona virus in recent weeks. One negative but the other two are still waiting. An error in the lab has delayed the results for one of his friends, he said. At his hospital in California, medical staff were told to use one face mask a day. Under normal circumstances, they usually wear more than four masks in turn.
“I think this country is very dependent on travel nurses to make ends meet and sometimes acts as a shield,” Rodriguez said. “We are there to fill in the blanks and at this time of the pandemic, it doesn’t always feel like the best scenario.”
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