The COVID-19 pandemic has put extreme stress on the health care workforce in the United States, leading to workforce shortages as well as increased health care worker burnout, exhaustion, and trauma. These pandemic-related challenges have taken place in a context of significant pre-existing workforce shortages and maldistribution, as well as in a workforce where burnout, stress, and mental health problems were already significant problems. This report combines a survey of the literature and primary analysis of data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources, with a focus on the hospital and outpatient clinician workforce, in order to describe workforce shortages both prior to and during the pandemic, COVID-19 impacts on the mental and physical health of the health care workforce, and an overview of federal interventions and investments to support the health care workforce during the pandemic.
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