Are Layoffs Pushing More People Toward Healthcare Careers?

How do people respond to massive layoffs? Some people file for unemployment and bide their time in hopes that their jobs will return. Others immediately start looking for new jobs within their chosen career fields. Still others opt to pursue entirely new careers altogether. In light of that, it will be interesting to look back on 2020 to see how coronavirus layoffs affected workers.

It looks like some of those workers are opting for the third strategy. They are leaving their old careers behind to embark on something completely different. Some of them are going into healthcare. That may seem strange, given that healthcare jobs are the front line of the fight against coronavirus, but such is the case, nonetheless.

From Insurance to Nursing

Tampa, Florida’s Bay News 9 recently reported on a young lady preparing to enter nursing after having been laid off by her employer. She is leaving insurance behind in order to pursue something she has long been interested in. Bay News 9 says she is not alone. The local Premier Nursing Academy says they have seen a surge in enrollment in recent weeks.

So why the sudden interest in nursing? In Niesha Meyer’s case, she has plenty of personal experience caring for family members at home. She wants to go bigger now. She told Bay News 9 that she wants to be “among those heroes” helping sick people on the front lines.

It would appear as though the coronavirus pandemic has opened the eyes of at least some people to the importance of quality healthcare in daily life. And with that new understanding comes a desire to be part of it. With any luck, the sudden interest in healthcare careers will not be short-lived. Our system needs a ton of new doctors and nurses to meet the demand that will be there once the pandemic is history.

From Unemployment to Contact Tracing

It turns out that people transitioning into healthcare careers are not necessarily focusing only on clinical positions. For example, consider the hundreds of unemployed people in Baltimore looking to become contact tracers. The position itself is one of the newest entries in healthcare employment.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the city will hire some 300 residents as part of a $12 million project to implement contact tracing and public health outreach. Those hired will be employed as either contact tracers or community health workers. Their primary tasks will involve tracking down, monitoring, and educating those who have been potentially exposed to coronavirus.

Contact tracing is so new that no one knows in detail what jobs will look like. No one even knows if the jobs will eventually become long-term careers. But based on the history of healthcare in this country, there is a good chance that contact tracing will eventually become a career choice unto itself.

Changing Times Demand New Jobs

The coronavirus pandemic has cost America millions of jobs. Some of those jobs will come back as states reopen and the economy recovers. Some will not. However, those that do not come back are likely to be replaced by new jobs created by the changing times in which we live.

Maybe we will start seeing contact tracing jobs show up on the Health Jobs Nationwide website in the coming months. Perhaps community colleges will develop new education pathways to get more nurses into the field more quickly. The fact is that changing times demand new jobs. Sometimes those new jobs are preceded by massive layoffs. That certainly seems to be the case in healthcare right now.