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What viral pandemics mean for the medical travel industry.

You know the drill: warm water and soap, scrub your hands for 20 seconds, rinse well, use a paper towel to turn off the tap. Avoid touching your face, and when in doubt, wash your hands again.

As medical professionals, there are few things as ingrained in us as proper hygiene.

You could possibly be well-versed in pandemic procedures, but the unpredictability of sudden, rapid-spreading diseases can lead to plenty of uncertainty. And that uncertainty isn’t just in sanitation methods and hospital operations but in the entire medical travel industry.

The current spread of this coronavirus restricts travel and public events. As daily life alters to support containment efforts, the best way to proceed forward is to be informed, alert, careful and calm. The medical community is deeply invested in containment of COVID-19, but nurses and allied health professionals will continue to manage all other ailments. For example, the current strain of the flu has killed 22,000-55,000 Americans in the past five months alone. Thirty-seven Americans have been killed by this coronavirus as of the publishing of this blog. We certainly have our hands full, so we’ll keep doing what we do best—keep calm and sanitize on.

This coronavirus may not be slowing down for a while, so we’re discussing potential implications for the medical travel industry and some ways we can all help out in this unique time. Other medical needs don’t stop for pandemics, but by staying alert and cautious, we can handle this.

 

What does this coronavirus mean for medical travel?

Medical travelers working on contracts in places where the virus has appeared are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and must stay aware of the potential for their patients to be carrying it. If your contract ends soon and you’re moving to a new location, you may have to answer questions about your previous assignment.

For the medical travel industry overall, this coronavirus is creating immense demand in the parts of the U.S. with large outbreaks. Washington State has a severe outbreak, and hundreds of travel nurses have been recruited to take the pressure off hospital staff. The demand is only rising—hundreds of open medical traveler positions in Washington remain.

The work of travel nurses in pandemic-affected areas is a bit different than a typical contract. Travel nurses working in Washington right now are generally backfill for nurses who have been quarantined or working out in the community testing locals for the virus. In Kirkland, Washington—the epicenter of the state’s outbreak—the ratio of nurses to COVID-19 patients is 1:1, which is not sustainable without outside help. Taking a contract in a pandemic hospital is not for everyone, but demand is very high and pay rates are well above normal in infected areas.

 

How can I help in my day-to-day life?

The best any of us can do is continue to provide excellent care for our patients. There isn’t much we can do to stop this coronavirus completely, but each individual can prevent the spread of diseases within their own environment. As long as medical professionals stay true to the standards of hygiene and care expected of us, we will not contribute to the spread of the disease.

No matter where your current situation pulls you, LRS Healthcare is proud to work with you all—those who keep us safe and healthy in unusual times.