COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 5/11-5/24

5/11-5/24 Updates


Vaccine Administration

Vaccination rates in nursing homes have risen 25% since August 2021.

Vaccine Administration

(05/16/2022 Nursing Facility Staff Vaccinations, Boosters, and Shortages After Vaccination Deadlines Passed
A Kaiser Family Foundation report finds that COVID-19 vaccines among nursing home staff increased by 25 percent between August 2021 (when the vaccine mandates were first announced) and March 27th, 2022 (after the vaccine deadline had passed nationwide). Approximately 14,700 nursing facilities participated in the study and at least 95 percent reported data. In addition to vaccination rates, the report also evaluates booster rates and staff shortages over this set period.

(05/16/2022) COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Nursing Home Staff Have Risen by 25 Percentage Points Since the Biden Administration Announced a Vaccination Mandate for Health Care Workers Last Year
Researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the COVID-19 vaccines among nursing home staff increased by 25% (63% to 88%) between August 2021, when the Biden administration announced the vaccine mandate for health care workers, and March 2022. The report analyzes federal data on nursing homes including 14,700 nursing home facilities. The findings imply that the federal mandate may have contributed to the rise in staff vaccination rates.

Health Workforce Shortages

A recent article investigates whether more male nurses are going into travel nursing due to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the nursing workforce and compound workforce shortages.

Health Workforce Shortages

(05/23/22) How to Ease the Nursing Shortage in America
In this report the Center for American Progress (CAP) identifies the causes of the pre-pandemic nursing shortage and the challenges of the profession from the pandemic going forward. Focusing on the nursing higher education pipeline and diversity of the nursing workforce, the report makes a number of policy suggestions that support creating a diverse, trained, and resilient nursing workforce capable of addressing future public healthcare emergencies.

(05/13/22) More Men Are Going Into Nursing: What about Travel Nursing?
A new Becker’s Hospital Review article investigates whether more male nurses are going into travel nursing. The data is incomplete so it is hard to determine if this assumption is true. The article also interviews 4 male nurses about how they chose their career path.

(05/11/22) Nurse Workforce Shortage Looms As More Nurses May Leave Profession
The 2022 Nursing Salaries Report by found that the pandemic had both positive and negative effects on nursing careers. Of the 2,516 nurses surveyed notable concerns emerge including pay disparities among gender and race and increases to both the percentage of nurses considering changing employers and those who were considering leaving the profession.

(05/11/22) Assessing the Lingering Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Workforce
This McKinsey article evaluates the impact COVID-19 has had on the nursing workforce. In particular, the workforce and operational challenges caused by increases in patient demand and the potential gaps in the health care sector in the coming years. Three causes for this are: decreased supply of the RN workforce, increased patient demand due to COVID-19, and increased demands due to the aging population.This article also examines possible solutions and ways to address the problem.

Health Workforce Resilience

A new report finds that the UK government did a poor job protecting, promoting, and supporting the health workforce during the pandemic.

Twelve hospital groups have requested that US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extend the Public Health Emergency an additional 90 days past the July deadline to ensure the health system is better prepared for future surges. 

New studies assess how COVID-19 has impacted the mental health of health care workers.

The US Surgeon General has issued an advisory that highlights the need to address the health worker burnout crisis worsened by the pandemic. 


Health Workforce Resilience

 (05/23/22) Harris, Surgeon General, Warn of Health Care Worker Burnout
Vice President Kamala Harris and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthery are warning of healthcare staff burnout, fearing severe workforce shortages in the future if this issue is not addressed. The Surgeon General’s Advisory Addressing Health Workforce Burnout estimates a shortage of “3 million essential low-wage health workers” in the next 5 years and a shortage of 140,000 doctors by 2033. The Biden administration is calling for new steps to protect the mental health of health care staff by providing expanded counseling, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting work force safety.

(05/23/22) New Surgeon General Advisory Sounds Alarm on Health Worker Burnout and Resignation
The US Surgeon General has issued an advisory that highlights the need to address the health worker burnout crisis worsened by the pandemic. The Surgeon General’s Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout cites studies and statistics from the National Academies of Medicine (NAM), US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and lists recommendations for stakeholders to make in the areas of healthcare workers’ health and mental wellbeing, workplace culture, and the nation’s public health infrastructure.

(05/19/22) Health Workforce ‘Left Exposed and Vulnerable’ During Pandemic
A new BMA report finds that the UK government did a poor job protecting, promoting, and supporting the health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report showed evidence that health care workers were at risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), low staffing levels, and a deficiency of COVID-19 tests. The report made several recommendations for future outbreaks including PPE stockpiles, adequate staffing numbers, and better preparation in case of future surges.

(05/16/2022) A National Study of Moral Distress Among US Internal Medicine Physicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The study published in PLOS ONE looked at the severity, determinants, and outcomes of moral distress in US internal medicine physicians during the pandemic. Based on a survey conducted during September and October 2022, this study finds “strong” correlations between high moral distress and negative mental health outcomes.

(05/16/2022) Hospital Groups Ask HHS to Expand COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Twelve major US hospital groups are requesting the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extend the public health emergency an additional 90 days past the July deadline. Although the COVID-19 numbers are low right now in hospitals, extending the PHE would help make sure that hospitals and the health system are better prepared to treat patients during future pandemic surges.

(05/09/2022) The Perceived Work Environment and Well-Being—A Survey of Emergency Healthcare Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The study, published in Academic Emergency Medicine, surveyed 701 emergency medicine (EM) attending and resident physicians, EM nurses, and emergency medical service providers across 10 academic sites in the US to determine if there was a relationship between mental health and perceived work environment during a pandemic. The survey measured job stress, mental well-being, working conditions and organizational factors, participants’ demographics and job characteristics, and perceived handling of pandemic by external groups.