Nurse Shortage in USA | Covid-19 Drives Up Demand

June 22, 2020  |  Unistaff

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We live in extraordinarily tough times. The global pandemic due to COVID-19 has affected the healthcare industry on a massive scale. The US is facing both a current and projected shortage of nurses, and their need has become even more urgent as they struggle to contain the spread of the virus.


As of writing, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US has reached 1.9M. Daily life has completely changed, with all fifty states requiring millions of people to stay at home. While the country has loosened restrictions, states are reopening differently and their safety practices or requirements vary. 

The virus first appeared and began to spread among the population of Wuhan, a large city in the Chinese province of Hubei in December 2019. It eventually spread to every corner of the globe and the number of cases is still rising daily.


In the midst of this global health crisis, hospitals and clinics in the US are desperately looking to fill thousands of positions, especially in ICUs and emergency rooms. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the shortage of nurses has already been an issue, partly because one million USRNs are projected to retire by 2030 according to the Journal of Nursing Regulation. At the same time, demand for RNs has been increasing, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting the need for more than 200,000 new nurses per year through 2026. The COVID-19 crisis has only magnified the need to fill this gap. The reality is that its hospitals are short-staffed, health care costs are ballooning and 44 million US citizens have no health insurance.


It has been said that the Philippines is the largest exporter of nurses in the world supplying 25% of all overseas nurses. The country could significantly ease the shortage of nurses in the US based on the large number of nursing graduates and professionals we have.

Fun fact: The Philippines has produced the highest amount of NCLEX takers in the world

NCLEX Statistics


According to Times Record News, though the coronavirus pandemic is predicted to slow over time, the need for nurses will remain urgent now and well into the future. The demand for nurses is currently about 20 times that of this time last year, and continues to grow every day.

The US health care system already relies heavily on immigrants. Now that COVID-19 has pushed America to the limits of its resources, these health care workers will be all the more critical.


The Philippines Relaxes Ban on Nurses Leaving for Overseas Employment

OFWs at the aiport
Source: The Manila Times


"All medical and allied healthcare professionals with perfected and signed overseas employment contracts as of March 8, 2020 shall be allowed for deployment abroad," Nograles said in a briefing.

Doctors, nurses and other health workers were prohibited from leaving the country earlier this year to help manage the COVID-19 outbreak. By April 13 however, the government has eased restrictions to allow health care professionals with existing perfected contracts as of March 8 to leave the Philippines.

“DONE. NURSES, other health workers with existing contracts of work abroad can leave," Teddy Locsin Jr. said on Twitter. Adding that health workers with future applications would be on hold "until further notice."


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Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals Exempted from US Immigration Ban

USA nurse praying


On April 22, the US Government announced the suspension of entry for immigrants. This is mainly targeted at those who present risk to the US labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.

That means, immigrants who want to enter the United States as a physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals are exempted from the Executive Order. The good news is, family members included in the petition will be allowed to have their visas processed and enter the US.

While the US grapples with the strain on its resources as COVID-19 continues to spread, they may soon face a dangerous shortage of doctors, nurses and other health workers. They will need all the help they could get not only to look after those infected, but also to care for the general public’s well-being.

The pandemic has highlighted the greater need in the US for international registered nurses to join their workforce. Now, more than ever, doors are continuously opening for foreign healthcare workers, especially nurses.


Why Nurses Will Always Be in Demand

As healthcare facilities in the United States continue to struggle with the national nursing shortage, they’ve relied on a healthy flow of immigrant workers or recruits to manage their healthcare system.

Registered nurse vacancies remain high throughout the country. Check out these specialties needed and join the US healthcare workforce!

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“We need to remain a nation that doesn't just welcomes but that celebrates legal immigrants who come here seeking to pursue the American Dream.” - Ted Cruz


The key to achieving your American dream is to focus your energy and put in the work that’s needed every step of the way. You already know that the journey will not be easy. There will be obstacles. But as long as you are determined to reach your goals and you keep on giving your very best, nothing can stop you from becoming successful.


Find opportunities even in times of uncertainty. Despite the current global situation, you can still achieve your American dream! 

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Unistaff Content Team

This article was put together by Unistaff's team of researchers, creative writers and content creators. We pride ourselves by publishing the most updated pieces of content in our blog section to enable you to make well informed decisions.

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