SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many women in the healthcare industry to leave the profession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women lost more than 1.5 million healthcare jobs—about 12 percent of all healthcare jobs held by women—in April of 2020.
In Utah, women make up 90 percent of the nursing workforce. During the second quarter of 2020, turnover for utah nurses reached an all-time high of more than 3,100 - a figure 33 percent higher than the second quarter of 2019.
Many of them left the profession to take on child care duties, while others left due to the stress of working long hours, working with critically-ill patients and seeing more deaths than normal each day.
“There’s quite a bit of collateral damage that was done as a result of the pandemic, but a lot of the environmental and personal stress issues were there to begin with, they just simply got exacerbated,” said Dr. Liz Close, PhD/RN, executive director, Utah Nurses Association.
Close says she met with members of the Nurses Foundation last week. They recommended that companies institute different programs to address the health and well-being of nurses.
Improved access to childcare could also help healthcare providers to retain their nurses.