- 23 April 2020
- 6 min read
The impact of Covid-19 on nursing recruitment agencies
Client Relationship Director of TFS Healthcare, Roland Sheehan, talks about the effect Covid-19 is having on healthcare recruitment and the industry as a whole.
Topics covered in this article
What changes have you made as a result of Covid-19?
All internal staff at TFS Healthcare have smoothly made the move from office-based working to working from home.
The whole business has had to be reengineered as a result of Covid-19.
Staff have been moved internally to focus on different roles as required from support roles through to compliance so that we can get nurses and healthcare professionals compliant and safely out working into the NHS Trusts and private hospitals that we work for.
Has Coronavirus changed the types of nursing jobs you're seeing coming through?
Intensive care units are very busy.
Respiratory medicine and ventilator specific care nurses are in high demand.
Some hospitals are expecting ITUs to get even busier and are on standby for patients that need to be ventilated.
The challenge is how TFS Healthcare reallocates our agency nurses to the departments with the greatest needs such as ITUs and respiratory wards.
Data confirms hospital pressure is concentrated on critical care.
Across England, 3,228 patients were in critical care beds — representing 78 per cent of the total of 4,122 critical care beds which were available in February.
More have since been opened, but it is not known how many.
In London 1,127 patients were in critical care according to the dashboard report at the weekend, a number which has grown rapidly in recent weeks.
It is understood there are currently about 1,550 critical care beds available in London, up from 1,041 in February.
In Birmingham and the Black Country the number of critical care beds in use is proportionately even greater than those available before covid-19 — at 223 full, versus 175 available beforehand — a surge of nearly 30 per cent.
Are the nurses and other healthcare workers you talk to asking about the PPE and other infection controls in place?
Everyone working on the frontline is asking about PPE.
We have set up a Covid-19 helpline which is being manned by our Clinical Lead.
We have experienced a high volume of calls regarding Covid-19.
We are keeping in regular touch with the Government, NHS England, the RCN and the NMC to ensure that we have the latest information available.
We are keeping in regular contact with each and every one of our healthcare professionals to support them.
We send daily COVID19 trust specific updates to our nurses and follow the NHS Public Health England guidelines.
What further changes do you expect to see over the next few months?
We are expecting things to get tougher over the next few months.
Resources are being stretched due to healthcare professionals self isolating and it has become a difficult task to recruit nurses, however, we are doing the best we can during this very challenging pandemic.
What advice would you give to nurses who might be considering a career move right now?
If you want to progress as a nurse, you have to show willing and put yourself out there.
It’s important to take ownership.
Working outside your comfort zone can at first be daunting; however, learning new things can be very fulfilling.
Asking questions and looking out for new opportunities is important.
Often speaking to Recruitment agencies can be a good idea, we can offer you information about the current job market specific to the area you want to work in.
Think about what you would like to be doing in two years’ time.
Take some time out to research the sort of roles you are interested in.
Trying to identify what sort of experience, qualification or skills are required, what roles are in demand, what jobs are out there at the level you want, are these jobs in demand in your geographical area(s).
Can you explain how Coronavirus has impacted the healthcare industry?
I can’t speak for other Recruitment agencies, however, TFS Healthcare is a 24/7 operation and continues to be.
Could you talk about differences now in place in terms of nursing recruitment needs between the NHS and the private sector?
The NHS is heavily geared up to deal with the COVID 19 pandemic.
Non-essential services and elective surgery have been stepped down.
We are recruiting nurses and support workers across multiple locations primarily to support the community to support the acute hospital ability to have a number of empty beds to allow for COVID cases to be admitted.
Do you think any changes you're seeing could become permanent?
I think there will always a fear in relation to contracting a virus; whenever someone coughs in the future we will naturally have the memories associated with COVID 19.
We all know that many diseases are spread by not washing our hands with soap and clean water.
Keeping our hands clean and not touching our faces are a very important step we can all take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs and hopefully this will be remembered.