Medical providers are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the media focus has largely been on those helping patients overcome the physical symptoms of the disease, psychiatrists are also rolling up their sleeves, helping patients find their way to mental wellness.
With an estimated 46 million adults in the U.S. battling mental illness, psychiatrists have long been in demand, and experts predict a shortage of 15,600 professionals by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, casting a spotlight the necessity of hiring locum tenens providers to fulfill patient need.
COVID Creates Complex Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new set of complications that prove to have a dramatic impact on mental health. Issues related to loss of income, isolation, loneliness, depression, job stress, anxiety, and fear of getting sick can be devastating. Approximately 53% of adults who participated in a Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll in July said that stress and worry about the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. As a result, many of these individuals reported issues ranging from difficulty sleeping to alcohol and drug abuse.
With more people in need of treatment from mental illness, the more desperate the shortage of psychiatrists has become. Issues like long appointment wait times and shorter sessions are a detriment to patients, and increased workload leads to provider burnout. As a result, not only are psychiatrists necessary to augment existing staff, but now even more are required to give full-time providers a much-needed break.
Crossing Rural Roads
While psychiatrists are in short supply around the nation, the gap is even greater in rural and underserved areas. For these patients, barriers to healthcare include the inability to find transportation, long distances from homes to providers, and lack of medical insurance. Locum tenens positions empower providers to go to far-reaching communities, bringing relief to those who would otherwise not receive treatment.
The Cure for Provider Shortages
Around the nation, 96% of counties have a shortage of psychiatrists. Locums providers can be the solution to filling the shortfall. Across clinical settings and states, locums providers are comfortable stepping in for a specified timeframe, and then moving on when the assignment concludes.
Amy Gentile, Divisional Vice President and Partner, Behavioral Health, for Consilium Staffing, said locum tenens psychiatrists can be a smart, sustainable solution for adequately staffing facilities that face a provider shortage.
“Before starting in the locum tenens industry, I worked as a Master Level Therapist with clients who suffered from both substance abuse and mental health diagnoses. I saw firsthand the importance the role of psychiatry plays in the quality of life for so many individuals,” Gentile explained. “Having a career in locum tenens has offered a unique vehicle to continue my passion for impacting patients’ lives by providing access to psychiatric care.”
As the pandemic carries on, the need for psychiatric care continues to climb. Locums providers can be the voice on the line bringing expertise to hospitals and facilities – and offering treatment and comfort to the patients they serve.
Learn how Consilium Staffing can assist with your locum tenens healthcare staffing needs.