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Layoffs, Furloughs, and Nursing After COVID-19 

May 19, 2020
Sadie Glisson, BSN, RN, CTR

COVID-19 Has Introduced a Time for Pause

A pause in the economy. A pause in entertainment. A pause in schools. And for many professionals, nurses included, a pause in employment. 

Contrary to what one might expect during a global health pandemic, even nurses are being furloughed and laid off during these uncertain times. Hospitals are experiencing low census, elective surgeries are being cancelled, and outpatient clinics are functioning at minimal capacity.

Though nurses can typically rest assured that they will secure a job in almost any scenario, the unique economic strains created by the COVID-19 pandemic are placing this idea of security on rocky ground, often forcing the question: What’s next? 

Fortunately, there are some unique opportunities that may fill temporary and even permanent gaps in employment for nurses and healthcare professionals as the healthcare system stabilizes.

woman thinking with ppe mask on nursing layoffs covid19 furlough nursing jobs


COVID-19 Screening Clinics

Companies are hiring nurses to take temperatures, screen patients, and administer testing for COVID-19. These jobs may offer a temporary bridge of employment until a more permanent position is secured. For future considerations, if this virus does return in waves over the next few years as expected, these companies are likely to invite nurses back from previous seasons.

Contact Tracing

Many states are ramping up their Contact Tracing programs in response to COVID-19. Contact Tracing is a disease containment method used in public health that identifies patients with known cases of communicable disease, urges self-isolation, and tracks the web of people who have made contact with the individual with the goal of containing further spread of disease.

Occupational Health Nursing

Nurses in Occupational Health are hired by companies to maintain the health of employees through wellness programs. With COVID-19, some aspects of these programs are being amplified and calling in more need for nursing staff.

Telehealth and Remote Nursing

As both patients and healthcare workers are urged to stay home, telehealth has emerged at the forefront of healthcare delivery. With this, many companies are hiring Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and other healthcare professionals to work remotely conducting telephone triage, patient support, and telemedicine visits. 

Home Health, Hospice, and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Though inpatient census has decreased, the need for community-based care remains steady. Many opportunities exist for nurses interested in Home Health, Hospice, and Skilled Nursing as sick or elderly patients maintain their care in these settings.

Summer Camp Nurses

Many youth summer camps require a nurse on staff for minor ailments, chronic condition management, and medication administration. The summer timeline of these jobs could present a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap until more permanent employment becomes available.

Specialty Transitions

It may be time to seek out other specialty environments. A nurse who has held interest in other areas of nursing might find this to be a unique opportunity to learn new skills, improve marketability, and even change the direction (or location) of their career.

Flu Shot Clinics

Companies hire nurses seasonally to administer flu shots at local clinics, and though these positions ramp up in the fall, hiring can begin over the summer in order to allow for onboarding and training for the upcoming season. 

It is no secret that the economy and healthcare system are under enormous stress right now. These challenging times require flexibility, an open mind, and the ability to pivot. It’s a great time to start networking and exploring other nursing opportunities. Some nurses are even using this time to start their own businesses, spend more time with family, or just slow down and prioritize their lives and careers in different ways.

Regardless, though we are under temporary constraints, we will certainly adapt and recover with time. Healthcare will remain one of the most resilient, robust, and adaptable industries in our economy, and its workforce has proven to be no different.

And while some facilities have paired down on open positions as of late, we still have job posting available for nurses looking to travel—check them out on our platform