Area hospitals work to hire staff amid shortage

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 5:42 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Area hospitals continue to manage patients while dealing with staffing shortages.

Health experts say the shortage wasn’t created by the pandemic, but the last two years have increased the need. With the large Baby Boomer generation getting older and needing more medical care, health care utilization is up.

Julian Walker with the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association (VHHA) said many medical systems are dealing with shortages.

“There are about, a little more than 9,000 open nursing jobs in Virginia, and more than 1,000 of those are nursing jobs that became open just since August of 2021,” said Walker.

Many hospitals, like Sentara RMH, are looking to nursing programs to recruit new team members, hoping to fill the spots quickly.

“In many areas, we do have less nurses than we would normally want. We are doing everything we can at the moment to recruit and fill the vacancies we have,” said Troy Kurtz, Director of HR at Sentara RMH and Martha Jefferson.

Sentara announced last month employees will get a pay raise, along with a better benefits package.

“Federal data suggests that we’ve lost approximately half a million nurses over the last few years... and even prior to that, there was a shortage, so this has exacerbated that shortage,” said Kurtz.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 11% of U.S. hospitals are critically understaffed. Over 17% of Virginia hospitals are critically understaffed.

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