With the United States confronting a rare Monkeypox outbreak, healthcare systems are taking the steps to ensure their facilities are well-equipped and prepared to deal with potential cases and prevent new outbreaks. As a healthcare provider, here’s what you need to know about monkeypox preparedness and response measures as the situation evolves.
History of Monkeypox in the United States
2003 was the first time human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa, and the CDC, other governmental agencies, and public health departments in affected states were able to contain it swiftly with no reports of person-to-person spread. Concerns were slight about Monkeypox until May 2022 when an unusually high number of cases were reported to the WHO from countries that are not endemic for the virus.
Since June, cases in the United States have surged—and in the last week of July, the country saw the largest spike in cases. In August, the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency that gives federal agencies power to quickly devote resources to developing vaccines and drugs, gain access to emergency funding, and to hire additional workers to help manage the outbreak.
Key hiring trends
As a result of the response to the current outbreak, we are seeking a few key hiring trends emerge:
- Physicians and mid-level practitioners in high demand at hospitals: “When hiring for monkeypox preparedness, physicians and advanced practitioners have been in highest demand among our clients,” says Romina Margiotta, a Vice President at Tandym Health. “This is primarily because of their ability to prescribe pain management and provide care. Most people with monkeypox have mild cases and can isolate at home, but for people with severe symptoms, they’d need to be admitted to the hospital for a higher level of care. There is a standard treatment protocol that only physicians and advanced practitioners can provide.”
- States with the most opportunities: New York, California, and Illinois lead the list with Texas and Minnesota trailing close behind. “While Monkeypox is now a federal public health emergency, governors in New York, California, and Illinois had already declared state of emergency responses,” explains Romina. “Demand was heavily concentrated in those three states at the onset of the outbreak, but as cases have surged, we are seeing additional states like Texas and Minnesota shore up their resources for Monkeypox preparedness. We only expect this trend to continue.”
- Vaccine roles are limited: Due to limited supply, you won’t see the same volume of hiring needs as you did for the COVID-19 vaccine—at least not at this time. “Like the early distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the monkeypox vaccine is initially being distributed to those at highest risk,” says Romina. “As a result, the volume of hiring needs is simply not there yet.”
- Facilities are partnering with staffing firms: As cases surge, healthcare facilities are partnering with healthcare staffing firms to ensure they can adequately meet the demand for care. “To ensure monkeypox preparedness, speedy hiring is key. With a pipeline of vetted candidates, especially those who can be redeployed from COVID-19 assignments, a staffing partner can be a valuable resource during this health crisis,” says Romina. “They can help minimize some of the administrative burden associated with the hiring process for health facilities, while at the same time, connect providers with the best opportunities for career success.”