Huntsville, Ala. – As the number of COVID-19 cases in North Alabama continues to grow, hospitals are beginning to feel the pressure of nursing shortages.
The Alabama Hospital Association says the current shortage is far worse than the last time there was a COVID-19 in January.
Experts said if COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to grow, as predicted, there may eventually not be enough nurses to go around.
Experts said many nurses have decided to bow out of the profession altogether. Many have apparently decided that the stress and long hours they experienced caring for patients during the last surge, is simply something they don’t want to go through again.
Other nurses, who opted to leave the state and are work for traveling nurse services that pay higher wages, haven’t returned to the state.
“Right now I’m not worried about beds, I’m not worried about stuff, we’ve got PPE, we’ve got plenty of ventilators, we’ve got plenty of ICU beds right now, the sort of Damocles that hangs over the entire response is staffing,” said Dr. Don Williamson, President and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association.
Health experts said if patient numbers continue to tick upwards, hospitals will likely need to begin recruiting nurses from overseas and from nursing schools, bringing in nurses who are still training in school.