There was already a nationwide shortage of nurses before the pandemic. It is now a full-fledged crisis affecting every hospital in South Florida.
“We have lost approximately 400 nurses within our system,” said Carol Biggs, general manager of nursing for Jackson Health Systems. “We are now hiring nurses before they even get their license.”
Nursing students feel like cavalry on horseback to save the day.
“My top priority is to care for as many people as possible, especially as a professional nurse, my plan is to do whatever I can for the community that has helped me get to this point, n ‘is this not?” said Ayleen Escobar, a nursing student in Miami-Dade College’s nursing program.
A group of health care executives and politicians met Monday at Miami-Dade College to discuss solutions to the nursing shortage. There is no magic short-term cure. Local hospitals rely on schools like Miami-Dade College and Broward College to train as many nurses as possible as quickly as possible. Financial assistance was also discussed at the meeting to help hospitals cover additional costs. Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya said his hospital system is paying about $150 million more in overtime because there aren’t enough nurses to work every shift, and he blames the pandemic .
“A lot of nurses have been dealing with this for two years and have decided to quit, they have taken early retirement, many of them have left the healthcare industry and some have chosen to earn more. money by going to work in temp agencies,” Migoya said. “What’s happened now after COVID, these temp agencies have been able to double what they used to charge. Right now hospitals are paying a lot more for the same care.
Aurelio Fernandez, CEO of Memorial Health Care System in Broward County, said it’s not just nurses, there’s a shortage of all health care specialties, due to the needs created by COVID.
“At one point in August of this year, 49% of our patients tested positive for COVID, and that put a tremendous amount of pressure on the healthcare system and how we handle patient care,” Fernandez said. . “Now we are below 55 patients in the healthcare system, we have less than 10 intensive care patients who are COVID positive.”
Hospital CEOs said vaccination is key to reducing hospitalizations and urged everyone to get vaccinated to protect against the Omicron variant.
Migoya said the best way to gauge the severity of the pandemic at any given time is to look at the number of people hospitalized with COVID.
“Omicron is a great example. Early reviews of omicron say it’s two or three times more infectious than delta, which itself is very infectious, but its severity isn’t as high as delta, so what they’ve seen in other parts of the world is right now, they haven’t had as many hospitalizations and if that stays constant – and we hope – that could be the end of the pandemic,” Migoya said, assuming enough people be vaccinated or obtain natural immunity through infection.