The Covid-19 Pandemic massively transformed the healthcare industry. Public health, research and development, and clinical sectors saw extreme challenges and had to adapt their practices accordingly. However, like many industries, there is also a falling action of sorts as we move farther from the first outbreaks. We will discuss how the recent pandemic initially changed healthcare, its progression throughout the coming years, and the future trajectory of the industry.
Impact of Covid-19 on Healthcare
The industry saw immediate and intense demand as Covid-19 began spreading globally. The early pandemic was a very uncertain time for the public and healthcare professionals alike. The virus was not completely understood or conquered, leading to some mistrust in medicine (such is the reality of healthcare). This made the jobs of healthcare professionals all that more challenging, adding a social and emotional layer to what was already a huge public health crisis.
Even with large investments in equipment, facilities, and caregivers, the task of managing Covid-19 was a high order. This led to an increased work schedule and rougher field conditions for a vast majority of the front-line healthcare professionals. As a result, the industry saw an exodus of more traditional roles and welcomed a plethora of newly-optimized positions meant to soften Covid-19 pressures.
The Industry’s Response
Demand from hospitals and clinics bolstered hiring in the healthcare industry, especially for nurses. Despite the great uptick in new hires locally, many organizations also needed the help of traveling nurses to keep up with the staggering numbers of cases during the height of the pandemic. These nurses come to work at hospitals and clinics for a (usually short) period of time. You can read more about them here. Throughout the pandemic, traveling nurses filled gaps in struggling hospitals and clinics, especially in areas with smaller populations and infrastructure.
Since physical contact is also a major concern for the spread of Covid-19, the ways in which healthcare professionals treated their patients throughout the pandemic changed. Like many other industries and programs, healthcare looked to remote technologies to keep a distance while still maintaining good care. Telehealth became a fine alternative for many of the nurses and other healthcare professionals who could see and speak with patients over the phone or via video call. You can read more about working in Telehealth and its benefits here.
Settling Dust and Future Outlook on Healthcare
The world began to reach some sense of normalcy after the big lockdowns lifted and activities began to resume. Many of the bustling businesses that took advantage of the new demands realized a shift in consumer habits and government support. Healthcare throughout the pandemic was no different. Much of the demand, particularly in clinics and pandemic-centric facilities, began decreasing as infection rates slowed and vaccinations proliferated in the public.
This created a foggy future for healthcare. On one hand, the immediate desire for experienced professionals has gone down over the past year. At an organizational level, this would call for job cuts and restructuring of the workforce, which has been increasingly noted recently. However, the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic are still in the back of our minds. Preparation of infrastructure, technology, and social management for a pandemic is not a quick or simple task (see March 2020). As such, many organizations still have hiring plans and practices in place to manage any revivals of public health concerns.
The industry should see a decrease in overall personnel in the near future, but many of the sectors like Telehealth, Travel Nursing, and Case Management will stay in demand as the administration of healthcare continues to evolve.
The Role of Staffing Firms in Healthcare
Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, quickly finding the right people for a job became all the more imperative. Staffing firms were able to relieve much of this talent demand, sourcing experienced professionals for healthcare organizations, facilities, and government health programs. The speedy turnaround helped fill roles that would have taken much longer to place from within the organization. This meant that patients could receive care more easily and that healthcare entities could save energy to be used for operations instead of hiring.
Staffing firms and agencies also provide more than just people. They do not stop at finding the right professional for companies; they continue supporting their clients through management and payroll of the consultants they source. This was especially useful in healthcare during the pandemic because many initiatives and management plans arose suddenly and required a large workforce. Staffing firms are fundamental to the support of projects like these. As a result, many healthcare organizations used and continue to use staffing firms to maintain a good standard of care.
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