Study Identifies the Most Overworked Health Care Workers in America During COVID-19

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  • Health care workers are being pushed to their limits during the COVID-19 pandemic. But which states are home to the health care workers who having the hardest time? A new study explores who has seen the highest demand.
Doctor reviews medical charts with her patient while both wear face masks

Front and center in the news during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the stress and strain placed upon our nation’s health care system and the employees who make it tick. There have been numerous stories about how nurses are burned out, hospital beds are scarce and staffs are overworked.

A study published in January 2021 has identified the most overworked health care workers in America. Using COVID-19 case data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overlaid with employment data from the Health Resources & Services Administration, the study authors determined the number of novel coronavirus cases per nurse, paramedic, doctor, pharmacist and psychologist in every state. 

Which States Have the Most Overworked Frontline Workers?

Iowa was found to be the state with the most overworked health care workers in the U.S. The state ranked inside the top 10 for COVID-19 cases per nurse (8th), EMTs and paramedics (2nd), doctors (3rd) and psychologists (1st). Pharmacists were the only workers for which Iowa did not rank in the top 10 nationally for the highest ratio of COVID-19 cases to workers. 

Iowa’s ratio of COVID-19 cases per health care worker since January 2020 was as high as 327-to-1 for psychologists, 209-to-1 for EMTs and paramedics and 70-to-1 for pharmacists. 

Nevada, Alabama, Idaho and Nebraska rounded out the top five states with the most overworked health care workers. Those states were followed by Mississippi, Utah, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indiana. The study found that the states with the most overworked health care workers clustered mostly in the South and Midwest. 

Utah was found to be the state with the most COVID-19 cases since January 2020 for each nurse in the state, with a ratio of nearly 11-to-1. For EMTs and paramedics, Nebraska was the state with the highest ratio, at 220-to-1. North Dakota is where you’ll find the most COVID-19 cases per doctor, at nearly 41-to-1. And psychologists in Nevada are the most overworked in the country as it relates to COVID-19 patients, with a case-to-worker ratio of 131-to-1.