If you’re a healthcare professional that wants to help, here are all the ways you can volunteer across the US

Here’s how doctors and nurses can volunteer to serve in high coronavirus outbreak hospitals. Carlos Osorio/AP
  • If you’re a doctor or a nurse looking for how to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, Business Insider has broken down all the ways you can volunteer.
  • You can apply to a staffing agency which gives workers short-term contracts to work at high coronavirus outbreak hospitals. Business Insider previously reported that some agencies have been offering volunteer nurses more than $US5,000 a week.
  • States, cities, and the federal government have their own volunteer registries.
  • If you’re a healthcare worker with information on staffing during the novel coronavirus outbreak, email [email protected]
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Many public health experts have been worried about an imminent hospital staffing issue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Slavitt, an administrator in the Obama administration and cofounder of a public health research group, recently said New York City’s greatest challenge in treating coronavirus is finding enough nurses and respiratory therapists. Nurses have told Business Insider they worry they will get sick due to the dire shortage of protective equipment, like masks.

Even when doctors and nurses are rushing to places like New York to help fight coronavirus, hospitals are running into confusion and bottlenecks when they try to organise volunteers, The New York Times reports. New York state, city, and individual hospitals all have separate volunteer websites for interested workers.

Staffing agencies, which typically supply hospitals with short-term contract workers, have better infrastructure to place volunteers – and they’re offering nurses $US5,000 a week to go to COVID-19 outbreak zones. But many volunteer workers told the Times they feel uncomfortable accepting the thousand dollar rates.

If you’re a healthcare worker looking for the best way to volunteer, Business Insider broke down all the ways you can get involved.

If you’re looking to travel outside your state, here’s how to get a licence to practice medicine:

Usually, doctors and nurses can only practice in the state in which they received their licence. But in this crisis, organisations have adopted new measures to help healthcare workers travel to states with more dire outbreaks.

If you’re looking for volunteer registries, here they are state and federal organisations:

State level

Many state governors have introduced volunteer forms for healthcare workers looking to work in high-outbreak states like New York, New Jersey, and California:

The US Department of Health and Human Services also has links to most states’ volunteer health professional sign-up websites.

Federal level

Federal agencies also have recruiting efforts aimed at healthcare workers willing to treat the coronavirus. The Medical Reserve Corps matches medical volunteers with local community groups on the frontlines of coronavirus. Interested volunteers can learn more on the Medical Reserve Corps website.

If you’re a retired physician or nurse and looking for ways to practice again, here’s how to renew your licence in a crisis.

The American Medical Association broke down several ways to volunteer as a retired healthcare professional:

  • 30 states have expedited licensing for retired and inactive licensing. To qualify, retired physicians and nurses must not have either a suspended or revoked licence. A full list of states with modified licence requirements for retired healthcare workers can be found here.
  • Many older doctors might face increased risk if they come into contact with the COVID-19 disease, as the illness has a higher death and hospitalisation rate for people above 60 years old. But many schools and health systems are employing seniors to teach or train online.

    • Hospitals in New York City, like Mt. Sinai, have healthcare worker volunteer forms for positions that don’t include direct patient care.
    • The AMA recommends reaching out directly to a hospital or school to see if there are volunteer opportunities available online.

If you’re interested in using a for-profit staffing agency, many of which offer steep rates to emergency respondents, here are some options:

Many staffing companies that typically employ hospitals and clinics with short-term or contract workers have pivoted to helping travel nurses. These agencies take a cut of the pay hospitals offer.

Aya Healthcare, for instance, told Business Insider that hospitals have increased nurse pay rates based on rapidly increasing demand. Some companies, like IntelyCare, have set up COVID-19 training programs. Other rapid-response staffing companies like Fastaff are helping nurses get licensed to practice outside of their state.