Initial Research Findings: COVID-19 RN Job Searching and Employers

Fusion Marketing Group is conducting qualitative primary market research with RNs and Respiratory Therapists to learn more about their job search behavior during this unprecedented time. We want to provide our client partners with as much information as possible so we can continue to make evidence-based recruitment marketing decisions together. 

Our ongoing market research updates are based upon primary market research and secondary research, including search trends from Google and Indeed.

Our initial round of RN interviews during the week of March 16, 2020, indicated these key findings:  

  • RNs appear to be willing to consider a job change if they believe their employer is not doing enough to support them.
  • The primary concern among RNs is the safety of their families -- they do not want to be in a position to become infected and bring COVID-19 home to their loved ones. 


Increase in Google searches for COVID-19 nursing job related terms.

43% reports that RN job searches are 43% above average.



RNs are feeling nervous and concerned about passing the virus onto their patients, families, and friends because their employers are not protecting them well enough.  Not protecting RNs means not protecting their families.

  • Most rate their concern for contracting the virus themselves at 6 on a 1-10 scale which is not too high, indicating that it’s passing it on, not getting it, that is the concern.
  • Most have young children, grandchildren or seniors at home.


A lack of employer transparency, education and inconsistent information is driving the fear that their employer is not protecting or supporting them.

  • RNs say that their employers are not communicating enough about the status of the virus in the hospital.
  • RNs also want to know their employers’ reasoning for the PPE (personal protective equipment) guidelines they have made.


Communicate the steps you are taking to protect patients and employees. In our research, RNs asked these questions:

  • Why are they wearing airborne gear in the ICU and not in the ED? 
  • Why are visitors not allowed to see family and yet they are crowded in the waiting room? 
  • Why is the other hospital in the county turning their ER into a no-pressure zone?

Communicate daily and be specific about the actions you are taking, such as eliminating elective surgeries, repurposing floors, implementing no pressure zones, preventing visitors, etc.


RNs understand it is their job to take care of others and they don’t appear to be shirking their responsibilities of being on the front lines, but this unprecedented situation has also put their families at risk and they are thinking their employers are not caring for them appropriately.

While the RNs we spoke with were not in an active job search, all said, ‘I need to work and if I’m not going to be protected here, I’ve got to find a place that will.’  Thus, job searching, filling out apps, virtual interviews, virtual events are all something they are open to.

What most RNs want from their employer is more communication, visibility, and evidence of doing whatever it takes to protect them.
  • Daily briefings on the extent of the virus in their state, community and hospital and trends on these data.
  • The CDCs and WHOs ever-changing information on how the virus is spreading and the appropriate protective gear required for patients who may not have tested positive.
  • Videos and education in various ways to handle patients, crises, epidemics.
  • Addressing questions of RN safety, particularly those that don’t make sense (see questions earlier) and why they aren’t doing what other hospitals or China is doing.
  • Having a POV on what the CDC recommendations are and being transparent about what they see ahead, particularly in response to PPE.
  • An appreciative phone call or visit and support from hospital administrators showing respect for RNs.