Turn to Tara: Nationwide nursing shortage sparks concerns of fewer hospital beds in the tri-state area
The nationwide nursing shortage, exacerbated during the early days of the pandemic, continues to escalate, particularly in the tri-state area, raising urgent concerns about potential impacts on health care facilities and patient care.
New data analyzed by the Turn to Tara team highlights significant staffing shortages in the region, which could ultimately lead to reduced hospital bed availability. The study reveals that 50% of nurses in New Jersey and New York are considering changing their careers, while 42% of nurses in Connecticut are exploring new professions due to the grueling hours and negative effects on their health caused by the lack of adequate staffing.
Judy Schmidt, CEO of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, emphasizes the situation is getting worse.
“It is very urgent. We’re seeing more nurses leaving than we see nursing students graduating and become licensed,” Schmidt says.
Among the 151 cities analyzed in a study by financial research firm Scholaroo, Fairlawn, New Jersey, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, were identified as communities grappling significantly with the labor shortage.
To address this crisis, Schmidt suggests that local health care facilities must offer nurses more flexible schedules, mental health support services, and competitive salaries. Failure to address the issue promptly could lead to severe consequences.
“We may see that some of the hospitals will have to close units. We may be seeing more patients staying in emergency rooms longer, possibly even more diverting of patients from one facility to another,” warns Schmidt.
As health care facilities grapple with these challenges, frontline nurses, who answered the call of duty during the pandemic, may now face the prospect of a mass exodus from the profession. Solutions that support and retain these essential healthcare workers are critical in preserving the region's medical services and ensuring quality patient care.
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