Elective Surgeries Resume During COVID-19: What That Means For Travelers

June 1, 2020


Stephanie Goraczkowski

Elective Surgeries Resume During COVID-19COVID-19 has raised a lot of questions for healthcare workers and traveling medical professionals. The most recent has been how the healthcare industry and the public will be affected by elective surgeries resuming in the U.S., as we start to see more of the country opening back up.

Likewise, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected travel RN. Recent reports show that in the U.S., facilities have canceled less-demanding travel nurse contracts and other healthcare travel contracts that may not be resuming due to the pandemic. Although the healthcare sector requires more nurses to act on the frontline and play their role in fighting the coronavirus outbreak across the country, it's left a large number of travel healthcare professionals without jobs too.

Many hospitals reduced or completely canceled elective surgeries to control the effect of coronavirus. This situation is largely due to the limited number of patients seeking medical care for injuries and illness non-related to COVID-19, such as car accidents, non-emergent care, dental cleanings—even elective surgeries like hip replacements and cosmetic surgery, to slow the spread.


Elective Surgeries Resume During COVID-19: What That Means For Travelers



The job repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there is a high demand for nurses in coronavirus hot spots, such as Boston and New York as well as other parts of the country, some nurses are feeling the adverse effects, particularly traveling healthcare including the Travel RN.

Indeed, this is a miserable situation that has brought a lot of frustration and desperation. Nurses are frontline workers. They care for patients and put their skills to use whenever and wherever needed.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S, travel nurses are stuck at home with idle hands. They feel frustration and fear of losing jobs.

The majority of the travel nurses are willing to put their lives on the line and work on the front-line to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

However, the health authorities are doing exactly the opposite, i.e. restricting travel nurses and canceling their contracts.


Elective surgeries resume.

So far, 30 states have allowed hospitals and healthcare centers to resume elective surgeries. Most recently, Maryland (May 7), Minnesota (May 10), Vermont (May 15), Washington (May 18), and South Dakota (May 31). Previously, seven states resumed elective surgeries within the first week of May: Arizona, Oregon, Virginia, Illinois, Alaska, Nebraska, and Florida.

According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS), resuming elective surgery is a good sign, but healthcare providers need substantial state guidance and solid plans to restart elective surgery. An important key step in resuming elective surgery is to assess the availability of testing equipment and understand changing policies regarding COVID-19. Moreover, setting protocols and providing effective PPR are essential for healthcare professionals to keep themselves and their patients safe as we all navigate the COVID-19 world. The ACS has put forward their contingencies on resuming elective surgery. For instance, health professionals must monitor COVID-19 statistics in their communities.

Recent statistics show the demand for travel RN specialties has increased. Med/Surgery has increased by 14%, ER/Trauma by 62%, as well as RNFA and ICU/critical care having increased by 64% and 59% respectively. At the same time, some specialties are still seeing a decline in job demand during the COVID-19 outbreak, which includes OR by 16%, Pediatrics by 28%, PICU by 29%, and Pain Management by 49%. Respectively, the statistical data shows that most hard-hit areas like New Jersey, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Washington need more travel nurses.


State Name

Demand Increased by (April - May, 2020)

New York


New Jersey


South Dakota




Rhode Island





Travel nurses play a vital role in assisting health professionals performing elective surgeries during COVID-19. Because of the fluid nature of the outbreak and with elective surgeries resuming, travel RNs can quickly mobilize to high-demand areas and use their skills immediately to influence patient care.

Further, as hospitals across the U.S have more and more patients testing positive for COVID-19, physical therapy and occupational therapy are expected to be more in-demand. Physical therapists, in particular, are starting to work with coronavirus patients in increasing numbers.

Generally, physical therapists are involved in a lot of ambulating, positioning, and exercise. With patients experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms, their bodies have specific needs, like remaining upright for better oxygen flow. Physical therapists are helping with these sorts of needs, as well as other essential therapeutic exercise for COVID-19 patients.


Taking it day by day.

The COVID-19 pandemic is alarming for traveling medical professionals. Travelers, who have been affected the most at the beginning of this outbreak, are now seeing a lot of job potential, especially after elective surgeries being resumed by most states. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the demand for travel nurses will increase, even after the government eases the lockdown situation in the country.

We don’t know what the outcome will be, with concerns from the World Health Organization (WHO) of a second wave of the virus hitting. Medical professionals can only do their best to ensure patients undergo successful elective surgeries and follow the guidelines on how hospitals can prioritize and schedule elective surgeries in the coming days. Additionally, traveling medical professionals can find the most recent traveler jobs here, and should be ready to jump in once the job market picks back up.

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