Across the country, millions of nurses are working on the frontlines to treat coronavirus patients.
The need for nursing staff is perhaps greatest in New York City, at a time when New York State has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
As the city prepares for tens of thousands of patients expected in the coming weeks, hospitals are desperate to hire more nurses fast.
Katherine Ramos, an emergency room nurse in New York, spoke to NBC about the dire necessity for more nurses and healthcare staff.
“People will die because, realistically speaking, you cannot attend to ten, 20, or 30 patients to yourself,” Ramos said. “How could you possibly give the care, the quality care that is necessary? You can’t.”
“I encourage the nurses that are at home, that you have your license, go, help us out. We're all in this together,” she said. “We need to be together. You know? We need to survive.”
Michael Fazio, the CEO of Prime Staffing, a nursing recruiter for major hospitals around the country, said that healthcare centers are looking to bulk up their staff in the face of the unprecedented illness.
In mid-March, Fazio said he had placed 100 nurses and is trying to employ 2,000 more. He said the demand for nurses is approximately 20 times greater now than at this time last year.
The need is especially high in intensive care units and emergency rooms, Fazio explained.
"The calls that I'm on starting at 6 in the morning every day — those are the areas the hospitals are really trying to ramp up to make sure they're ready to go,” the Prime Staffing CEO said.
In addition to offering higher wages during this period of “crisis” necessity, Fazio’s firm has started offering additional perks to these contract nurses at no cost to them or the hospitals that employ them.
These protections include nurses being driven to and from work in private cars with certified-healthy drivers, sealed lunches delivered to their hospitals, childcare, and grocery deliveries to their families at home.