COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic and was widely spread almost 2 years ago. Over that time, many nurses have either quit or been fired.
According to ABC, hundreds of nurses have been fired for refusing the vaccine. According to WebMD, 1 in 3 healthcare workers are not vaccinated. CNBC says that according to recent studies, between 20 and 30% of frontline healthcare workers in the US say they are considering leaving the profession now. Job openings at hospitals have increased 57% since August of 2019. The Syndicate of Nursing Professionals (SNPI), has predicted that by the year 2030, there will be a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers and professionals.
This shortage is largely attributed to nurses either being exhausted or demoralized. Others may also be leaving for higher-paying jobs with travel nurse agencies.
I interviewed a nurse that works with COVID-19 patients every day in a nursing home. I asked about her reaction to the pandemic and her overall experience in the first year. She said, “Well, [you] know it’s scary because of the unknown, however, being in the healthcare field, we have the proper PPE (protective wear), and [we] always use that.” She also mentioned that after she had her baby, she took extra sanitary and cleanliness precautions. “[We had] a lot of unhappy family members because they couldn’t see [their] families and we didn’t have COVID for a very long time where I worked.” She continued to tell me that her place of work had the virus on the floor that she worked on. She also said it was actually ”frustrating” at times and that many people didn’t want to work on the COVID-19 floor. Six people where she worked actually died from the virus. She did say that they had some very appreciative family members that would bring the workers snacks.
I asked her about the COVID-19 vaccine as well. In her opinion, “It is a personal choice. Just like any other vaccine.” She also added that if you’re vaccinated, you shouldn’t be scared of the unvaccinated.
When asked about advice she has for new or incoming nurses and healthcare workers, she said, “Oh my goodness, be prepared to work your butt off because everywhere is short of workers.” She continued to tell me about how the shortage of healthcare workers isn’t new and that COVID-19 actually brought light to that situation. She said to find a nurse that will take you under their wing. There is a lot of improvising as well in the medical field, and you won’t always have the supplies you need. The nurse’s greatest advice was “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask if you need help.”