Unprecedented Growth in Healthcare Workforce Demand in 2020

Young female nurse at camera wearing surgical mask

Healthcare Workforce Demand to See Unprecedented Growth in 2020

The healthcare industry has always been one of the fastest-growing in the world, demonstrating the ongoing need for trained professionals who are prepared to care for patients both healthy and ill alike. In the United States and around the world, 2020 is projected to be a year of unprecedented growth, as a variety of factors drive the sharply increasing need for a healthcare workforce.  The COVID-19 crisis, as well as several other issues, have created a perfect storm of sorts. Ultimately, it seems that the healthcare industry may be facing a serious shortage in 2020 – which is why the growth in workforce demand has increased at a rapid rate.

Healthcare Professionals are Needed Now More than Ever

The coronavirus pandemic is just one of the numerous factors driving the growing demand for healthcare workers, with the industry as a whole expecting significant growth in the next several years. Although COVID-19 is a major force behind the need for nurses and nursing assistants right now, there are several other elements that will continue to fuel demand in coming years, including:
  • The aging population and an increase in chronic conditions in the United States, which will require a larger healthcare workforce than is currently available.
  • A significant percentage of current healthcare workers are expected to retire, as the “Baby Boomer” generation reaches retirement age.
  • Growing availability of new and advanced positions, leading to professionals to seek opportunities outside their current positions.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Projections, healthcare occupations are projected to grow nearly 15 percent through 2028. For comparison, that’s close to two million new jobs and a faster growth rate than any other industry (with other sectors averaging six percent growth). Home health care jobs will increase by more than 54 percent, with practitioner offices, nursing and residential care facilities, and hospitals following closely behind. Of the 30 different occupations that are predicted to be the fastest-growing in the next several years, more than half of those are in the healthcare industry, such as:
  • Home health aides
  • Personal care aides
  • Medical assistants
  • Physical therapy assistants
For anyone considering a career as a nursing assistant or another healthcare role, this means that employment prospects should be excellent in the years to come.

How COVID-19 Has Affected the Healthcare Workforce Demand

As the world experiences a widespread pandemic of historic scale and severity, the need for healthcare professionals has become more apparent than ever before. A newfound appreciation and respect for healthcare workers have swept the nation (and the globe), and a growing number of people understand how important trained professionals are to the health and safety of our society as a whole. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had immediate devastating effects on millions of people around the world, it’s expected to serve as a catalyst for many other changes within the healthcare industry. One of the most significant impacts will be a huge demand for a larger healthcare workforce, particularly those who work in emergency and intensive care positions. 

More Healthcare Workers are Needed Now

A significant shortage in healthcare workers has been one of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as medical facilities around the country realize that their staff simply can’t keep up with the demand for care. As patients are admitted and diagnosed at a steadily increasing rate, there are serious concerns about whether the current workforce will be able to keep up in the next several months. As a result, new healthcare professionals, including nurses and nursing assistants, are discovering that jobs are plentiful. Many facilities are raising their hiring and employment rates, expanding their teams as quickly and effectively as possible to try to meet future needs. 

Changes in “Crisis” Staffing Policies

The dramatic rise in the demand for healthcare professionals has also prompted another significant shift – one that benefits professionals in many different roles. Because staff such as nurses and nursing assistants are needed at facilities all over the country, particularly those facing an influx of coronavirus cases, wages and additional services are on the rise. In some parts of the U.S., nurses see their potential wages nearly double. Others are receiving specialized “hazard pay” due to their exposure to COVID-19 patients. Additionally, those that work in designated “crisis” or “travel” roles are experiencing positive changes in the options available to them. Typically, these roles are only offered via short-term contracts, and without benefits such as paid sick leave. But many agencies are now guaranteeing these professionals sick pay, should they become ill with the highly contagious coronavirus. Finally, additional measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of nurses, nursing assistants, and other healthcare professionals. For many medical facilities, it has become very clear that without their healthcare team, quality and availability of patient care will drop – and so, protective protocols are being developed to help keep nurses and others safe. For example, some facilities are offering their staff benefits such as private transportation to and from work, childcare, grocery deliveries, and sealed meals delivered to their place of employment.

Make a Difference as a Certified Nursing Assistant

Are you considering becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA)? Not only is this an honorable decision that can allow you to make a positive difference in the lives of countless patients, but it’s also one that can lead you to an extremely fulfilling career. As a nursing assistant, your daily role will be one that centers around helping others, and you will have an important role in the health and safety of our society as a whole. If you’ve always wanted to find a career that is as rewarding as it is lucrative, working as a nursing assistant may be exactly the future for you. At the Allen School of Health Sciences, our certified nursing assistant programs in Brooklyn and Queens provide the training and experience you need to move forward in the healthcare industry. After graduation, you’ll be eligible to take the state exam and pursue employment at one of the hundreds of healthcare facilities in our state. Additionally, the Allen School also offers career support to help you be well-prepared to pursue your professional dreams and goals.  Get more information about our nursing assistant training programs in Queens and Brooklyn by contacting the Allen School today.   *Image By Juice Flair

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