Battling COVID with a nursing shortage
There’s not a shortage of beds, there’s an RN shortage.” That’s a comment from Singing River Health System CEO Lee Bond regarding the negative bed situation hospitals are facing across the state.
Hospitals aren’t actually lacking the ability to open more rooms with beds for patients, they don’t have the nurses available to staff it.
As the state is receiving $1.8 billion in pandemic relief funds, Bond believes that a portion of that money should be given back to nurses and other healthcare workers especially considering the long hours and work weeks healthcare workers are putting in during these times.
The state has 2,000 less nurses than it did two years ago and for not-for-profit hospitals like SRHS they don’t have cash reserves and can’t pay contract rates like other states can. “We need nurses to stay here in Mississippi and that money has to come from somewhere and that’s a lot of money coming in from the federal government. We think some of it should be allocated to nurses. They’re hanging in there taking care of everybody, but it’s tough.”
As all three of Singing River’s hospitals are surpassing previous highs in COVID hospitalizations, apart from the lack of beds available, in their ER they’re experiencing extremely long wait times.