Despite having empty beds, Delta Regional Medical Center is still experiencing shortage problems.
While the Coronavirus is a massive problem in and of itself, DRMC is facing a “staffing crisis” with the number of nurses decreasing, according to hospital CEO Scott Christensen.
Christensen addressed the nursing shortage in his report to the Washington County Board of Supervisors during their regular Monday meeting.
While COVID-19 testing supplies is a present issue, Christensen told the BOS, “I will say the thing that concerns us most, and this is very very serious for the hospital, is staffing.
“When people say the hospital is full or there’s not a bed available, that has nothing to do with physical space or an actual bed. What that means is we don’t have the nurses or the staff to take care of you...you can only have a nurse to take care of so many patients depending on how sick they are and so forth,” he said.
Being ill and having to quarantine for two weeks in adherence to CDC guidelines is one of the factors Christensen attributed to the nursing shortage.
“A lot of staff get sick and are out in the community just like everybody else, so, when a nurse has to be off work for ten or 14 days to quarantine and follow the guidelines, it puts us in a crunch,” Christensen said.
The DRMC CEO noted before the pandemic, there was already a national nursing shortage and the current conditions have only exacerbated the problem.
As for trying to maintain nursing staff, Christensen said they are pulling out all of the stops, such as extra shift bonuses and overtime.