Almost 1 in 5 health care workers quit their jobs during COVID-19: poll

Almost 1 in 5 health care workers quit their jobs during COVID-19: poll
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Nearly 1 in 5 health care workers reported that they have quit their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

poll of 1,000 health care workers, which was conducted Sept. 2-8 by Morning Consult, showed that 18 percent of medical workers polled quit their jobs during the pandemic. Additionally, 31 percent reported that they had at least thought about leaving their work.

The workers cited issues like poor pay, pandemic-related safety fears and burnout as the reasons for their departure, according to Morning Consult. 

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Experts say these departures could have a detrimental impact on the medical system. 

"You’re experiencing loss of manpower in a field that was already short on manpower before the pandemic hit," Dharam Kaushik, a urologist at the University of Texas Health, San Antonio, said to Morning Consult. 

Over half of health care workers polled said their mental health worsened in the pandemic, and 42 percent said their daily lives have suffered during COVID-19.

Morning Consult added that some of the workers surveyed said they would tell new trainees coming into the field that "patients are becoming increasingly violent and rude" while another said "don't do it unless you have a death wish."

Some respondents voiced more optimism in their advice to newcomers, saying "hang in there" and "keep patients at the focus of your practice." 

Despite those who have chosen to leave the field, the survey indicated that the majority of health care workers were optimistic about the future of their industry.

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Overall, 57 percent of health care workers surveyed had positive thoughts about health care's future, the poll said.

A gender divide existed in the outlooks about health care's future with 69 percent of men expressing a positive sentiment compared to 54 percent of women, the poll said. 

Kate McOwen, senior director of educational affairs at the Association of American Medical Colleges, attributed less positive outlooks of female medical workers to increased child care responsibilities that fell on them during the pandemic, as well as the mostly white, male "power brokers" in the health care field, Morning Consult said.

“I think mentoring the next generation, and then changing our hiring practices to put women and people of color in leadership positions, it has to happen in order to address these kinds of disparities that are still present in our field,” McOwen said to Morning Consult.