US Hospitals Facing Worrisome Shortage of Nurses, Doctors

January 5, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, For Career Seekers, Recruitment & Volunteers

Last modified January 19, 2021

According to this recent article from AP News, U.S. hospitals are once again concerned about finding enough medical workers to meet demand just as infections from the holiday season threaten to add to the burden on American health care. California, which is going through its worst spike in cases and hospitalizations, is reaching out to places like Australia and Taiwan to fill the need for 3,000 temporary medical workers, particularly nurses trained in critical care.

“We’re now in a situation where we have surges all across the country, so nobody has many nurses to spare,” said Dr. Janet Coffman, a professor of public policy at the University of California in San Francisco.

The pool of available travel nurses is drying up as demand for them jumped 44% over the last month, with California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Minnesota requesting the most extra staff. It’s a sharp contrast from the spring, when health care providers from California flew to New York to help their overworked colleagues.

Sara Houze, a traveling cardiac intensive care nurse from Washington, D.C., recently began a new assignment caring for COVID-19 patients in San Bernardino, California. She said her online community of nurses is offering webinars about moral distress because many of them have had to change the way they care for patients. “The patients that aren’t yet intubated, and even the ones intubated, aren’t getting the kind of nursing care that I want to give them because our resources are so limited and time is taxed,” she explained. “It’s really disheartening.”

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