As the United States emerges from the COVID-19 crisis phase, the long-term impact of the pandemic on the health sector remains unclear. In recent months, hospitalization rates have fallen and the number of new cases remained well below top pandemic records, but health professionals have still managed COVID-19-related burnout and fatigue.
ONE December 2021 survey of more than 500 health professionals and first aiders found that 38% of respondents reported having post-traumatic stress disorder, 74% experienced depression and 75% experienced anxiety due to the pandemic. More than half of those surveyed said the pandemic reduced the likelihood of staying in their field.
In a separate study conducted by McKinsey in November 2021, 32% of registered nurses surveyed in the United States said they were considering leaving their role—A 10 percentage point increase since the previous survey less than 10 months earlier.
The pandemic overwhelmed America’s health care system and the professionals who keep it running. Not only did they perform life-saving acts every day, but they also carried the psychological pressure of the heroic tale – and fulfilled an idea of a strong, tireless, fearless, and who ultimately wins.
For more than two years, they faced patients ‘deaths and faced uncertainty about their and their loved ones’ safety. They bore witness to the emotional trauma of others with little opportunity to process their own. One of the most significant sources of anxiety and depression over the past two years, they did not have the physical resources or support to do their job, according to health professionals.
Violence against health professionals has been on the rise over the last decade. According to a 2018 report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, health and social workers were five times more likely than all other workers to experience violence in the workplace, which includes 73% of all non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses that require days away from work.
According to a National Nurses United study from 2020 of more than 15,000 registered nurses in the United States, approx. 20% of participants said they faced increased violence in the workplace. This behavior is attributed to COVID-19-related staff shortages, changes in their patient population, and visitation restrictions.
The health care system is again overwhelmed by labor shortages and patients delaying treatment during the pandemic. While a large part of the healthcare sector has experienced a recovery in employment figures since the first decline in 2020, nursing homes and geriatric care facilities have continued to see a decline in employment until November 2021, according to a Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of BLS data.
Many workers are leaving the field for brand new industries. In terms of time Used US Census Bureau data to compare which industries healthcare professionals switched to after leaving healthcare between the third quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. While the dataset focuses on national numbers, data from Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee were not included.
According to the BLS is the healthcare industry includes outpatient health services, hospitals, care and housing services as well as social assistance. This includes home helpers, licensed practical nurses and health care managers. Read on to learn more about the industries that healthcare professionals joined during the pandemic.