OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Krucial Staffing is helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic by deploying thousands of health care workers to areas around the country.
The company uses a reserve pool of medical professionals to deploy when disaster strikes. It did its largest-ever deployment of nearly 4,000 nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals at the height of the pandemic.
CEO Brian Cleary said the company has recently seen a large increase in demand for travel health care workers as cases of the delta variant surge around the country.
"If 2020 was house on fire, this may be just kind of the garage on fire so nothing of that level yet and I hope we don't get there," Cleary said.
Cleary said the company has deployed nearly 2,000 workers in the last few months since the delta variant began taking hold of the pandemic. He anticipates the demand continuing to increase.
Registered nurse Glinda Hawkins is currently on her second deployment with the company in Tyler, Texas.
Hawkins said about 85% of the COVID cases at her hospital are the delta variant.
"This strain is weird, it's different, so I would say the most important thing is get your vaccination," Hawkins said.
Hawkins said many patients come to her hospital who test negative for COVID-19 at first and then later test positive. She wants people to understand things will only get worse unless more people get vaccinated.
"It's very disheartening for me as a health care worker that people are just not getting vaccinated, I don't why, I know there's a lot of myths, but let's be honest there were myths about a lot of things," Hawkins said.
Hawkins has been in the medical field through many historic medical events such as the HIV epidemic, Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and now COVID-19. She said the work can take its toll.
"Being there watching people die, we've had a lot of 'Notebook' moments where a husband and wife died together, we put them in the same room, I've experienced a family of five dying," Hawkins said.
Hawkins said although the job can weigh heavy on her heart, it is just as equally fulfilling.
"Taking care of people is ministry, you know being a nurse is not what I do, it's who I am," Hawkins said.
She makes sure to focus on self-care and mental health on her days off so she can be ready to jump back into taking care of others when she needs to.
With hospitals seeing more and more breakthrough cases, Hawkins said vaccinated people need to be sure not to let their guard down.
"Continue operating as if this was the very beginning of the pandemic, continue social distancing, continue masking," Hawkins said.