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reflections and predictions Epic Specialty Staffing 2021

Reflections and Predictions: A Look Back at 2021 with Mr. John Astrab

reflections and predictions Epic Specialty Staffing 2021

It’s beyond a doubt that the last few years have caused permanent changes across the world. Business practices have had to adapt. People have changed the way they interact in person. Companies have had to lean into new ways of ensuring business continuity and finding opportunities for growth and success. Without a doubt, it’s been a challenge for us all.

At Epic Specialty Staffing, we firmly believe in transforming a challenge into an opportunity and have embraced this philosophy as we’ve adapted to the new normal of a post-pandemic world. We spoke with our CEO and President, Mr. John Astrab, to reflect on how far we’ve come in 2021 and how much we look to 2022 to grow further.

2021: A Perfect Storm Brews

“This year saw a lot of shortages in the healthcare field, and for a lot of different reasons that came together at the same time,” says Mr. Astrab. “More than ever, our healthcare partners looked to us for guidance and support to fill an even bigger gap in staffing.”

Vaccination Mandates Impacting the Field of Healthcare

Although federally mandated, some healthcare facilities had varying levels of strictness when it came to their employees being vaccinated. This led to nearly a ten percent increase in dismissals across the board with certain states being impacted more severely.

“In California, if you refused to get vaccinated, the rules were upheld and we saw more and more medical professionals being let go,” Mr. Astrab explains. “In Florida and some of the more conservative states, we saw less of this, but it was enough to make a big impact on the already-massive demand for healthcare employees.”

Disruptions in Immigration

Delays in the immigration process were another side effect of the pandemic that impacted our industry in 2021.

Medical professionals and graduates from China, India, Pakistan, and other foreign countries were simply not able to cross into the United States in time due to processing delays.

Downtick in Graduates

Not only did we see a decrease in new talents that we normally expect from overseas, but changes to the curriculum in the US also led to a downtick in homegrown medical professionals entering the industry.

“The requirements to graduate in radiation oncology have increased so much over the years,” says Mr. Astrab. “Instead of two years, now it takes four years AND a Ph.D. The timeline is now between eight to ten years— versus the past where a candidate could graduate from start to finish in four. It’s a much longer time commitment and one that we’re seeing fewer students jump through the hoops.” 

Radiation oncology is a highly specialized form of cancer treatment. While it continues to raise the bar and improve patient outcomes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for new professionals to enter the field.

After-Effects of COVID

We also saw that many healthcare leaders and professionals looked at COVID as a sign for early retirement—hence intensifying the shortages even more.

“Additionally, fear of working in an environment where the virus was present led to professionals taking more sabbaticals, time off, and generally working less, Mr. Astrab says.” 

Adding to that, the demand for nursing-level jobs skyrocketed as patients required more emergency care during the pandemic. This led to a reduction in the demand for high-level leadership when in fact, it was needed the most.

Despite these challenges in the early half of 2021, we saw a shift and business pick up in the second half as “The moral of the story: to lead carefully, but not fearfully. Because of our processes and our approach, we were able to help not only our long term clients, but we became known to several other healthcare facilities and organizations that we previously had not worked with.”

Finding New Opportunities

Even though the demand for staff-level nursing dominated the majority of the year, we successfully placed more than 60 leadership and c-suites candidates where they were able to enact positive change amidst a global health crisis.

“Our healthcare partners needed what we call a ‘change agent’—someone with the skills and experience to lead a team through a very difficult challenge… and we helped provide just that.”

Epic Specialty Staffing’s level of experience and expertise in placing high-impact leaders is one of our biggest business priorities, and one we will continue to push as our world heals and we lean into the “new normal.”

The Team Grows

To sum up, the three biggest achievements of 2021 would be:

  1. That we retained our employees
  2. That we hired new talents
  3. Our market share grew and our ability to serve our clients better than ever helped us through one of the most difficult candidate shortages to date

 “Partnerships are at the core of everything we do at Epic Specialty Staffing,” says Mr. Astrab. “Not only did we add more than five new employees internally, but we increased our clout in our industry by going above and beyond to serve our clients in unprecedented times.” 

A culture of helping others and motivating ourselves as a team leads to great rewards, both professionally and personally.

The Return to In-Person Events

When COVID halted all industry trade shows and conferences, we saw a definitive downturn in business. The inability to personally connect and interact with healthcare professionals made our work harder—but we persevered and maintained contact with all our candidates to the best of our ability.

“The return to our trade shows this year has made an enormous impact on our business,” says Mr. Astrab. “There’s no comparison to when you can be on the floor meeting hundreds of new people each day. The more people you talk to, the greater the chances are of finding an opportunity in the near future or seizing one immediately.”

Onto the Next with Epic Specialty Staffing

Mr. Astrab wants to put 2021 to a close with this empowering message: this year’s ending means new beginnings. And it can only get better.

At Epic Specialty Staffing, we are committed to providing the highest level of service, industry expertise, and compassion for our candidates and the healthcare facilities we work with. These last few years have placed us in the most unique of circumstances that we’ve been able to overcome and supersede together. We look forward to another year of shared success and helping further the quality of cancer treatments and medical care for all.


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