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UVA, Sentara RMH, Martha Jefferson in need of more hands on deck in ICUs

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - UVA Medical Center is in desperate need of ICU nurses. This all comes as COVID-19 surges, hospitals are overcrowded, and many in healthcare experience burnout.

“A lot of healthcare workers are tapped out,” UVA ICU Director Dr. Taison Bell said. “Patients are still extremely sick and it’s complicated in the ICU. It’s hard to see where exactly that end in sight is, at least right now, and I think the combination of that has led to a lot of burnout and turnover and people frankly deciding to leave and do other things.”

Dr. Bell says many healthcare workers originally saw COVID-19 as a sprint and thought we as a country could get out of the woods quickly. Now, that race has quickly turned into a marathon.

“We had a nursing shortage nationwide even before the pandemic started, but this has really exacerbated that,” Dr. Bell said.

Bell says finding qualified nurses is easier said than done.

“That’s part of the problem you can’t do that easily, it actually takes years to train a nurse that’s capable of providing high quality care in the ICU,” he said. “These are patients who are on multiple life support machines, multiple medications, multiple alarms going off, all of the consultants, and multiple things to do.”

Bell says the best way to fight the shortage is to get vaccinated to reduce your chances of ending up in the hospital.

“This is actually a situation where the community can have a direct role in relieving some of the strain on health care providers,” Bell said.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and Sentara RMH are also in need of extra hands in the ICU and other nurses in general.

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