A Shrinking Band of Southern Nurses, Neck-Deep in Another Covid Wave

At small hospitals across the South, a dire shortage of nurses is imperiling care amid yet another crushing wave of coronavirus patients.

Nursing, Shortages

1/23/2022 8:33:00 PM

At small hospitals across the South, a dire shortage of nurses is imperiling care amid yet another crushing wave of coronavirus patients.

The exodus of medical workers during the pandemic has been especially brutal for the small, nonprofit safety-net hospitals where millions of Americans seek care.

.With 2,000 unfilled openings for registered nurses and some of the worse health outcomes in the country, hospital executives worry about Mississippi’s longer-term prognosis. Mr. Lowe, of the state hospital association, said he feared that residents would blame health care workers for any substandard of care they experience, antipathy that will turn more people away from the profession.

That dynamic was palpable last week as Brandon Russell, 20, a certified nursing assistant, tried to stay chipper as he tended to the needs of nearly a dozen Covid patients. Before entering each room, he had to suit up with a surgical gown, gloves and two masks, even if the task was as simple as switching off a light. After exiting the room, all that protective gear had to be removed. The process was repeated dozens of times a day. The job pays $10 an hour.

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Same thing happening in all of rural CO. Just the price of freedumb. How many nurses in the country were laid off or fired for not getting the Very Safe and Very Effective vaccine that doesn’t stop infection or transmission? Talk to the anti-vaxxers freedom patriots, maybe they'd like to become medical workers

a plan to delegate what to who and hire more temporary staff for howmuch

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Yet Another COVID Wave Is Impacting Young People's Mental HealthJust when things seem to get better, they get worse again — and it's taking a toll. Elias and Zandy have no illusions. They respect covid while others don't or even respect each other. We could manage the pandemic better, but between greedy govts and reckless people, it's not happening. We're in the middle of the crisis, can't relax yet. Miller is wrong. I explain in a generalized way the central dispute between youth liberationists and those who oppose youth liberation (antiliberationists). In Section II, I present three different defenses of the anti-liberationists’ main conclusion: that adults have, and youth lack,

if you test positive for the coronavirus . With 2,000 unfilled openings for registered nurses and some of the worse health outcomes in the country, hospital executives worry about Mississippi’s longer-term prognosis. Mr. Lowe, of the state hospital association, said he feared that residents would blame health care workers for any substandard of care they experience, antipathy that will turn more people away from the profession. That dynamic was palpable last week as Brandon Russell, 20, a certified nursing assistant, tried to stay chipper as he tended to the needs of nearly a dozen Covid patients. Before entering each room, he had to suit up with a surgical gown, gloves and two masks, even if the task was as simple as switching off a light. After exiting the room, all that protective gear had to be removed. The process was repeated dozens of times a day. The job pays $10 an hour. Mr. Russell, who recently recovered from Covid, said the past few months had led him to abandon his aspiration to become a registered nurse. “I love my patients but I’ll be honest with you, I’m ready to quit,” he said. “It doesn’t help that whenever I bring up nursing school, every single nurse here tells me not to do it.” Such sentiments pain Ms. Sison, 36, the nurse manager, who can seem impossibly sunny as she rallies her staff. Over the past few months, she has lost count of the times she had to console co-workers who were irreparably burned out or reeling from the rapid succession of deaths. One nurse, she said, had a nervous breakdown in her office and later quit. “You become a nurse to fix people but there have been weeks during the pandemic when it felt like we lost more people than we saved,” Ms. Sison said, standing in the hallway with a fellow nurse. They began recalling some of those Covid deaths: the 18-year-old begging for relief as he gasped for air; the 27-year-old father who left behind four children; the elderly man who took his last breath minutes before his family arrived to say goodbye. Image Stress relievers on a shelf in the E.R. manager’s office. Image Amanda Parker, a housekeeper at the hospital, made a bed in a patient’s room. “Yes, this is what we signed up for, but people forget that we’re still human and we have emotions,” Ms. Sison said. “You try to check it at the door when you go home, but you can’t.” For Ms. Sison, the losses have been personal. She was 33 weeks pregnant in March 2020 when the pandemic hit Pascagoula, and after weeks battling a mysterious illness, the child, a boy, was stillborn. Doctors delivered the news the same day the hospital admitted its first coronavirus patient. An autopsy determined that Covid had likely caused his death. Three weeks later, Ms. Sison was back at work. “They were there for me,” she said of her co-workers, “and I wasn’t going to leave them at such a terrible moment.” Just then, an overhead speaker began to play the familiar strains of Brahms’s lullaby. Medical workers up and down the hallway stopped in their tracks. . The song marked the birth of a child at Pascagoula Hospital, “a rare moment of goodness,” one woman said. It reminded them of the days when the hospital played “Don’t Stop Believin’” every time a Covid patient was discharged. At a time of unrelenting darkness, the song was a source of joy and hope. But that was before, back when most everyone at Pascagoula Hospital believed that science and self-sacrifice would ultimately win the day. “We thought we’d beat this virus,” Ms. Sison said, her voice trailing off. “We don’t play that song any more.” Advertisement