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Nursing Shortage a Challenge during COVID Pandemic

Nursing Shortage a Challenge during COVID Pandemic

Throughout the ongoing pandemic, staff shortages at medical facilities have been at the forefront. As nursing students anticipate going into the career that they had been preparing for, they didn’t anticipate to be heading into a global pandemic.

“It’s a little bit scary knowing that in a few months I will be out there in the midst of this pandemic and helping people with COVID-19. But then at the same time, it’s also brought a little bit more of a purpose towards the end of my schooling because it really motivates me to get out there and help and use what I’ve learned,” shared Emily Cash, University of Mary Nursing student.

Hospitals like CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck typically base staff off of annual numbers. But since the surge of COVID-19 cases they had to resort to their daily numbers.

“Our overall, our volumes are higher than they’ve been historically in general. And so that’s what we’re trying to overcome because we know we want to continue to meet the need of our community,” Raumi Kudrna, explained Vice President Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Executive for CHI St. Alexius.

This is leading the hospital to create a hiring incentive of $20,000 over a two-year period for new nurses.

“We’re seeing nurses coming out of school but there’s so many different openings all around the United States,” said Janelle Frederick, the talent management coordinator for CHI St. Alexius. The North Dakota Department of Health is also looking for people to become Certified Nursing Assistants. The four day training will be paid for and no previous medical training will be necessary.

“Seeing that need grow and grow we quickly said we need to hire CNAs. And we intentionally focused on hiring CNAs and even that wasn’t enough. And actually, at this point, we are hiring nonmedically certified people. And we are giving them an emergency training in CNA duties with an emergency licensure and then putting them into the field,” said Rachel Stinson, the Deputy Incident Commander for the Department of Operation Center.

According to the Department’s Operations Center, 80 CNAs were out of work last week across North Dakota, due to COVID-19. For the CNA training through the Department of Health, you do need to have a high school diploma and be eligible to work here in the state.

KX News
Nikiya Carrero Reporting

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