While most of the world has managed to reduce the number of new cases of COVID-19, the U.S. has seen a marked spike in cases as states began slowly reopening. Although many states have been able to “flatten the curve,” others are experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. If you’re ready to go to work where travel nurses are needed the most, here are four states that need your help right now!
Although the entire U.S. continues to set daily records for positive cases, on July 12 Florida reported an astounding 15,000 new cases of coronavirus, marking the highest single-day total of known cases in any state since the start of the pandemic. As a result of this recent spike, more than 40 hospitals across Florida have maxed out their ICU capacity. Miami-Dade County, in south Florida, is responsible for the lion’s share of cases in the state.
Sine the pandemic began, staff nurses and physicians have had to work more hours than they’ve worked before, and they need relief. This is when travel nurses are needed most.
Florida’s hospitals are “scrambling” to call back nurses. Governor Ron DeSantis also announced he was sending 100 nurses to help out Jackson Health System in Miami, which has already hired 80 extra nurses in the past couple weeks. And while hospitals are reaching capacity, they still need sufficient staff to take care of the influx of patients. “Hospitals can ‘pivot enough space,’” says Jay Wolfson, professor of public health at the University of South Florida. “The trick is going to be staffing. If you get people burned out, they get sick, then you lose critical care personnel.”
And Florida’s not alone. Texas has also seen dramatic increases in positive cases and hospitalizations, reporting between 8,000 and 10,000 new COVID-19-positive cases per day, and their hospitals are quickly becoming overwhelmed. Coronavirus hospitalizations have more than doubled in Texas over the last two weeks, with nearly 8,700 people in hospitals as of July 13. Hospitals from Houston to Austin fear they could hit capacity in about two weeks.
With this resurgence in coronavirus cases in Texas, nurses are being stretched too thin, on the verge of, if not already suffering from, burnout.
“More and more people are coming in and staying and working extra, and those long exhausting hours take a toll on your body,” says Serena Bumpus, director of practice at the Texas Nurses Association in a recent interview with Houston Public Media. “There’s already a shortage of nurses across the entire state of Texas, and by 2030, we’re expected to be short over 60,000 nurses in the state alone.”
Arizona has also seen a dramatic increase recently, reporting over 2,500 new cases and 86 deaths on July 12. Arizona hospitals statewide are reporting their ICU beds are at 89% capacity, with the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 topping 3,000. Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county which houses Phoenix and Scottsdale, has been the hardest hit.
Emergency room physician Dr. Murtaza Akhter says that so many patients are coming in that he is already having to make tough decisions over resources. “I’m trying not to be an alarmist. I’m an emergency physician — we’re prepped for this. I trained very hard for this. But we can’t just build beds overnight. We can’t just hire staff overnight. And like I said, our numbers are only increasing,” he said. “It’s only going to get worse and that’s the scary part.”
California is also seeing an alarming increase in positive coronavirus cases, recording nearly 8,500 new cases on July 11, up dramatically from when they seemed to have “flattened the curve.” The hardest-hit area is Los Angeles County, recording a total of over 130,000 positive COVID-19 cases and nearly 3,100 deaths since the pandemic began.
Dr. Alan Williamson, chief medical officer of Eisenhower Health hospital in California’s Riverside County, says they have been bringing in travel nurses because the 3-to-1 nurse-to-patient ratio is much higher for COVID-19 patients — even for those who are not in the intensive care beds. Recruiting the nurses needed has been challenging, said Dr. Williamson, because Eisenhower is competing with two other hospitals in the area.
Rallying to where travel nurses are needed
Having to lean heavily on travel nurses, hospitals are turning to innovative staffing strategies such as asking retired and nonworking RNs, including retired army nurses and medics, to return to work. Additionally, with the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, nursing licenses are a lot more portable than in the past, making it much easier to work across state lines to bring the help where travel nurses are needed most. There’s no question — if you’re ready to work, we can help you find a travel nursing job in a high-need location.