Respiratory therapists, who are essential to treating COVID-19 patients, top the list of most in-demand temporary allied healthcare professionals, according to a new survey by AMN Healthcare.
The survey indicates that 96 percent of hospitals and other healthcare facilities have used allied healthcare professionals of various types to fill temporary assignments during the last 12 months. Respiratory therapists are most commonly used, followed by laboratory technologists, radiologic technologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists.
More than 22 million people are employed in healthcare and social services, the nation’s largest employment sector, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Of these, about 60 percent can be characterized as allied healthcare professionals who work in more than 80 different job categories, according to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.
The survey indicates that 75 percent of hospitals and other healthcare facilities are seeking temporary allied healthcare professionals. The primary reason cited by 73 percent of facilities surveyedis to fill gaps while permanent workers are being sought, suggesting that allied healthcare professionals are difficult to find in today’s volatile labor market.
The primary benefit of using temporary allied healthcare professionals, cited by 71 percent of facilities surveyed, is to prevent the burnout of existing staff. Due to COVID-19 and other factors, burnout and turnover among healthcare workers has escalated in recent months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 589,000 healthcare workers quit their jobs in September 2021, representing a 35 percent voluntary attrition rate. The survey indicates that many healthcare facilities are using temporary allied healthcare professionals to alleviate the burden on their permanent staff and reduce turnover.