FILE - A nurse checks on IV fluids while talking to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dec. 13, 2021. Many American hospitals are looking broad for health care workers, saying they're facing a dire shortage of nurses amid the slogging pandemic. It could be just in time as there's an unusually high number of green cards available this year for foreign professionals seeking to move to the United States. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Hospital Staffing Shortage

By Tate Scott

            With a national shortage of nurses amidst a worsening pandemic, hospitals are having a harder time than ever when staffing their hospitals, causing them to get more creative during hiring. In September of 2021, The American Nurses Association called on the US Department of Health and Human Services to instate a national crisis due to the staffing shortage. One study projects a loss of 510,394 registered nurses by 2030.

            This astonishing number could be due to a number of reasons: nurses entering retirement, faculty shortages in nursing schools, the lack of graduating nurses coming out in the work field, and people resigning from their positions, possibly even due to the staffing shortage or burnout. 

Mask storage in the hospital (APNEWS)

The most common way to get these hospitals staffed since the pandemic has been travel nurses.However, these nurses can come at an expensive cost even though it is a short-term role. In 2020 alone, travel nursing grew 35 percent and is expected to grow another 40 percent within the near future. This position comes with a high salary and increased benefits, including housing and transportation. 

            Another way the hospitals are staffing up is through foreign health care workers. When the pandemic began, many visas for relatives of US citizens were declined, meaning more green cards were accessible for nurses wanting to come to the US. 

            Faith Akinmade, pictured below, is a 22-year-old nurse from Nigeria, currently working as an ICU nurse at the University of Louisville Hospital located in Kentucky. 

Faith Akinmade at University of Louisville Hospital (APNEWS)

            Another way hospitals are finding innovative ways to staff their floors is by allowing the return of licensed practical nurses.  Traditionally, hospitals sought out medical professionals with higher education, but the staffing shortage has given these individuals more job opportunities. 

Travel nurses at work (APNEWS)

Another way the medical field is ensuring patient care during a staff shortage is by creating virtual nurses. This technology allows for videoconferencing and technology in patient rooms. 

            As the staffing crisis worsens and the patient load increases due to the pandemic, hospitals will continue to look for nurses abroad. Not only this, they will continue to be creative, like by offering higher wages and better benefits. 

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