- There was a “substantial” increase in healthcare quits during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2018, according to a study published in JAMA Health Forum last week.
- Early in the pandemic, researchers found most departing workers quit without a new job lined up. However, by 2021, workers increasingly left healthcare positions to pursue roles in other industries.
- Though turnover was high, employment rates remained relatively stable through 2021 due to the industry’s ability to attract new talent. However, researchers said new hires during the pandemic often lacked experience and were hired from non-healthcare professions.
This study, which analyzed jobs data between 2018 and 2021, adds to research suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated healthcare staffing and care quality concerns.
A disproportionate number of Black and female professionals left healthcare roles during the study, while fewer Black workers entered the field. The researchers warned continued poor recruitment and retention of Black workers could impede patient care.
Meanwhile, healthcare organizations increased the hiring of unemployed individuals and workers without healthcare backgrounds in 2021 by nearly 30% and 20%, respectively, compared to 2018.
Healthcare professionals — particularly nurses — said that high levels of burnout during COVID pushed seasoned professionals to seek early retirement or alternate jobs, contributing to a brain drain in the industry.
Nationwide, the median time that nurses worked for their organizations fell by 19.5% between March 2021 to March 2022, according to a study from Epic.
Without a deep bench of experience, relatively green employees may have to train or supervise even greener recruits.