Nursing Talent Planning For A Second Wave Of COVID-19

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Nursing Talent Planning For A Second Wave Of COVID-19

July 17, 2020

As new cases show signs of leveling off in some regions, experts warn of a potential second wave of COVID-19 that could prove more problematic. If researchers are anywhere close to accurate, another surge in cases could cause a staffing crisis that could further stress supply. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the current director of the CDC chief, and Nicholas A. Christakis MD, Ph.D., MPH are among those who believe the US should brace for a second wave in winter. Dr. Christakis thinks that the current pandemic is most like the influenza pandemic of 1957 that killed 150,000 people with a population of 170 million. Both Dr. Redfield and Dr. Christakis believe that the current pandemic’s second wave could be more problematic due to the following factors:

  • Inadequate testing
  • PPE supply challenges
  • Absence of a vaccine projected until 2021
  • Strained resources due to timing coinciding with Flu season

To date, COVID-19 has been responsible for over 591K deaths on 13.8M confirmed cases worldwide at the time of this article. While warmer weather is to be an ally in stopping the spread of the virus, recent data seems to point to warm weather playing a lesser role. As governors start to re-open the economy, healthcare leaders are trained to grapple with measures to insure bed capacity, PPE inventory and critical nurse and provider staffing.

Talent Considerations In Preparation For The Second Wave of COVID-19

According to the most extensive travel nursing providers in the US, crisis nursing needs have continued to soar as hospitals and healthcare facilities seek to bolster staffing. One company reports over 1,000 new requests for crisis nurses. GHR Healthcare has experienced a similar increase in demand for contract engagements. GQR continues to be a forward-thinking talent partner as nursing executives reconcile budget considerations with critical needs. GQR has responded to the crisis with key recommendations for healthcare leaders planning for a potential second wave.

Nursing Leaders Should:

  • Assess the current pool of cross-trained clinical staff
  • Review contingency plans for tapping into PACU and Interventional Radiology staff
  • Establish proactive “Just in time” training for staff with critical care backgrounds
  • Develop a buddy nurse system
  • Evaluate and consider Telehealth capacity and implementation for patient monitoring
  • Determine how much outside staffing support will be needed based on census projections -Evaluate what has worked and what has not worked in this first wave.
  • Review creative ways to procure additional nurses outside of crisis arrangements

GQR Healthcare stands by ready to assist and has been nimble in developing cost-effective solutions to address critical response staffing demand. We continue to ask key questions and challenge the industry status quo to come up with new engagement models. Retainer arrangements, Rapid Float Pool development, Telehealth staffing and Contract-to-Hire engagements are some of the tools clients have explored as a response to patient surges. The aim as always are patient outcomes while helping our clients remain fiscally responsible. We would love a seat at the table as you prepare for what may be in store in the coming months.


discuss your critical response talent strategy with our specialist



Resources provides great tools for leaders to project staffing needs, ppe and other projections. Here is a great tool found on this site to assist in calculating staffing needs.

It is brought to you by a collaboration of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Michigan Medicine (including staff from the Center for Surgical Training and Research (C-STAR), the Department of Learning Health Sciences, and the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS)), and the Procedural Learning and Safety Collaborative (PLSC).

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