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Nursing shortage impacting hospitals in Charlottesville area

(FILE)
(FILE)(KEYC News Now)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 3:09 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The national nursing shortage is impacting hospital systems in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

UVA Health and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital say they are relying on travel nurses to help care for patients for a variety of reasons.

“We have more nurses that are exiting the workforce because of retirements and less nurses coming in,” UVA Health Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Baker said.

With high turnover rates and burnout from the coronavirus pandemic, UVA is not immune to this national shortage of nurses.

“We have a cadre of travel nurses, but for the most part we staffed primarily with UVA Health nurses,” Baker said.

SMJH Human Resources Director Troy Kurtz says sometimes procedures have to be cut back because of the lack of nurses.

“We’ve also had to transition staff from areas that are more procedural-based to units or departments that are more inpatient settings,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz says the hospital system has amped up its recruitment efforts: “We’ve also offered incentives and executed a pretty robust recruitment campaign to provide enough nurses to our units, but we are still short in some areas,” Kurtz said. “I think in aggregate, we’re short. That being said, we try to move our resources in terms of one department to the next, depending on any given shift, any given day, to make sure that we have appropriate resources for the volume of patients.”

Both UVA Health and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital would not disclose how many travel nurses they’re relying on because Baker and Kurtz say that number fluctuates.

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