There are few industries that have not been affected in one way or another by the global COVID-19 pandemic, however there is no doubt that the healthcare sector has been hit the hardest.
The entire population has come together to celebrate the incredible dedication that our nurses, doctors and healthcare workers have demonstrated over the last few months - showing appreciation in many forms, from clapping on doorsteps to donating free meals to hospital staff. The outbreak of the virus continues to have an enormous and in many cases devastating impact on the healthcare industry, the ripple effects of which have considerably changed the Agency Nursing and Healthcare sector and the way it operates. We’ll explore the ways in which the healthcare recruitment industry has responded to the pandemic, but also what the future may hold…
COVID-19, Agency Nursing and Healthcare Recruitment
As a nursing agency, we work hard to ensure the safety of our agency nurses and agency healthcare workers. We have a dedicated Nursing Clinical Team which also includes a Pandemic Lead, who are in place to ensure that governance is always followed and pandemic measures are carried out for all of our agency staff to follow. This is in order to protect all workers and patients within the Trusts we deploy to.
Additional measures to safeguard agency workers have included access to relevant PPE guidance and other related COVID-19 training. In many cases, hospitals are employing a buddy system, so that agency nurses know who to report to, and who to speak to if they have any questions. The effective on-boarding of agency nurses is vital, and is now more important than ever, so nurses have access to all the information required to successfully undertake an assignment in a new location. We provide all our agency healthcare workers with a staff pass and Mayday Healthcare ID. At Mayday Healthcare, we understand the impact that the pandemic has had on the morale and mental healthcare of the country’s critical workforce. To that end, we have created and shared numerous Mental Health resources for our agency staff, including information on free services and self-care guides. Is it our priority to guide, protect and reassure our agency healthcare workers, wherever possible.
In regards to agency nursing and the recruitment market itself, as expected, we have seen a sharp increase in the demand for nurses to fill critical care nurse jobs and ICU nurse jobs, along with healthcare assistants and unqualified support workers. Equally, the need for RGNs (Registered Nurses) has remained high, as there is always a high number of RGN jobs available. Understandably the agency healthcare workforce faces their own challenges, with a reduced number of staff available due to strict rules on working if you or your family have symptoms, as well as access to testing and PPE. In some cases, agency nurses are being redeployed or changing roles in order to deliver care where the need is greatest. Once the risk is deemed low enough to reopen many of the services that were suspended as a result of COVID-19, meaning we expect an increase in demand to cover these services commencing again, and to deal with patient backlog.
What does the future hold for Agency Nursing, post-COVID-19?
Whilst we can only speculate, there are hopes that the spotlight on nursing caused by the pandemic will help to improve awareness of the challenges that the nursing industry faces. Healthcare professionals have a platform to amplify their voices and become a catalyst for change. The COVID-19 outbreak has reiterated how incredibly resilient and adaptable our healthcare workforce is, and we can only hope that this will translate into better funding and a louder voice for our nurses, doctors and healthcare workers in the future.
Mayday Healthcare continues to place nurses and healthcare professionals into agency healthcare jobs around the country, and if you’re interested in finding out more about our opportunities, please get in touch with your friendly recruitment team.