2020 proved to be a whirlwind year for healthcare workers. As COVID-19 hot spots quickly sprouted in big cities, then rural counties, and everywhere in between, travel nurses answered the call.
In March, when the pandemic first took hold of the states, we reported on soaring average weekly pay for travel nurses and the urgent hospital demands for more workers. In fact, COVID-19 specific job listings skyrocketed 1900% on NurseFly in March alone.
Nine months later, NurseFly is still seeing similar patterns: hospitals paying the “pandemic premium” for healthcare workers and a steep need for ICU healthcare workers across the board to meet a fast and dramatic rise in patients.
I’m amazed at the sheer dedication and willpower of those in and outside of our NurseFly healthcare worker community to take control of the pandemic. Amidst a massive uptick in hospital staffing needs across the country, our nation’s healthcare workers have taken on more than ever before.
To give you a sense of just how much healthcare workers managed last year, we recently published a Year in Review report, depicting pay and demand trends throughout the year. Here are the highlights.
Demand for ICU workers follows COVID-19 infection rate closely
NurseFly first saw a spike in ICU worker demand in February, ahead of the March influx of COVID-19 cases in the US. This signifies that hospitals in the US were already preparing staff for what they knew would be an intense year.
In fact, we saw a 305.8% increase in demand for ICU travel nurses in March to November of last year compared to 2019.
You’ll see that the rise in ICU jobs on the NurseFly platform rose at nearly the same rate as COVID-19 cases. We saw the steepest jump in ICU jobs yet in November, which again correlated to fast-rising infections, with ICU job postings publishing only slightly faster than the rise in cases.
Salaries for travel healthcare workers triple during COVID-19
Compensation for travel healthcare workers saw its first spike in mid-March when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. The increase in pay followed major hotspots throughout the US, signifying the dire need for qualified healthcare professionals in overwhelmed COVID regions.
Take New York for example. In late March, the state offered average weekly pay upwards of $3700. Weekly average pay in New Jersey skyrocketed shortly after, hitting over $5,300 per week in mid-April. California, New York (again), Florida, South Dakota, and Wisconsin also all saw major hikes in weekly pay in 2020, outlining COVID’s path from cities to rural midwestern states.
Compensation directly followed the curve of demand last year, sometimes reaching over $7,000 per week, a 141% increase on the highest weekly pay in 2019. In November, weekly pay skyrocketed up to 90% as hospitals hit patient capacity.
Looking to the year ahead
Although we can start to see a little light at the end of the tunnel, there is still work to be done. Our COVID-19 Job Portal includes jobs and pay rates in areas where traveling healthcare workers are needed most.
As we begin 2021, I want to personally thank each and every healthcare worker for their sacrifices and incredibly hard work. It’s a relief to see many of you get your first doses of the vaccine after the overwhelming fight against COVID-19.
Learn more about NurseFly’s 2020 Year in Review report here.