A week ago today I was in the Everglades, marveling at the exotic birds that had made their way there from North, Central and South America for the winter. Yesterday the Boston Globe ran an article about how large employers like CVS were permitting their employees to be snowbirds –working in the North during most of the year and moving to the sunnier climes during the winter.
It sure makes a lot of sense for pharmacists, because lots of older customers go South for the winter as well. And other health care workers, including doctors and nurses head down for the “season” as well. It’s mostly done through locum tenens for physicians and traveling nurses programs.
As health care staffing shortages grow, the migration patterns will need to intensify and diversify. Rather than temporary jobs, expect more health care jobs to be in two locations on a routine basis. And there will also be pressure to let seasonal health care workers into the country from lower wage (if not necessarily colder) places. Finally, expect more US patients to move to places like Costa Rica and Mexico partly to seek better availability of nursing care and other labor intensive assistance.March 2, 2006