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Doctors & nurses eager to get back to work despite COVID-19 anxieties

Layoffs and furloughs are a new thing for many medical professionals who’ve come to expect stability in their employment. So, it’s not surprising that a new survey suggests that medical professionals are eager to end lockdowns and get back to work; but like workers in so many other industries, the prospect of going back to work while COVID-19 remains at large is tinged with concern.

The CHG Healthcare Survey

The survey of 1,285 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, by healthcare staffing agency CHG Healthcare, found that anxieties are up, even while workloads are down. Among respondents, 59% reported that they’ve treated patients who were either symptomatic but not tested or formally diagnosed as having COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms who was not tested. When asked how their current anxiety levels compared to their pre-pandemic anxiety:

  • 31% ranked current anxieties as being significantly higher;
  • 41% said their current anxieties were slightly greater than before;
  • 24% reported no change between their current and pre-pandemic anxiety levels;
  • 1% said their anxieties were actually slightly lower than before the pandemic; and
  • 2% reported having significantly less anxiety now than they did before.

About one-third of respondents (31%) said they were either extremely or very concerned about getting COVID-19 themselves, while 45% reported being either extremely or very concerned about someone in their family getting it.

Healthcare Workers Jobs and Income

The survey also asked about respondents about their current financial situation, with 7% reporting that they were laid off and 6% that they were furloughed. When asked what they were doing to maintain their income during layoff or furlough:

  • 62% said they were filing for unemployment benefits;
  • 57% said they were reducing expenses; and
  • 52% reported relying on savings or investments.

Forty-six percent of laid off or furloughed workers reported they were either looking for new permanent positions, another 37% were working locum tenens and 26% were working in telehealth.

Among those who reported that they were still working, 74% said they were working less than before the outbreak, with 56% reporting working significantly less. The chart below summarizes the reasons attributed for decreased workloads.

Cause of deceases in workloads
Source: CHG Healthcare

How Healthcare Workers Feel about COVID-19 Restrictions

The majority of healthcare providers (73%) stated they wanted elective medical procedures to commence again within the next month or sooner, with responses varying slightly by medical field, as shown in the graph below.

When should elective care resume
Source: CHG Healthcare

Sixty-three percent also wanted stay at home orders lifted in the next month.

When asked about the response to the pandemic, healthcare workers rated themselves better than the government with 49% rating healthcare workers response as excellent and 48% rating the White House’s response as poor:

Rating on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Source: CHG Healthcare









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