Staffing at ‘critical’ stage as hospitals work to maintain care during COVID-19 surge

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With the omicron variant causing a big spike in cases, hospitals throughout the state are struggling to keep up with staffing demands.

A Nevada Hospital Association report explains staffing levels are at critical stage in Southern Nevada and at rural hospitals.

 “It is spreading like wildfire and the community can witness that,” said Nicole Taylor, a Mountain View Hospital nurse.

She says times are getting tough.

“Healthcare workers are at risk. Nurses are calling out sick at a rate and that leaves it to the nurses who are not sick to essentially pick up the slack,” Taylor said.

An update from the Nevada Hospital Association this week shows staffing levels remain at crisis levels at hospitals throughout the valley.

A representative from Mountain View, Sunrise and Southern Hills hospitals said they have all seen an increase of 105% over the last two weeks in COVID-19 patients.

They have reduced non-emergency surgeries and are now aggressively recruiting new medical staff.

“Nurses and healthcare workers are feeling exhausted,” Taylor said.

 “This is our fifth surge,” said Steven Merta, the chief medical officer at Sunrise. “We are feeling the staffing challenges that the rest of the nation is having.”

Merta said Sunrise is making staffing adjustments to make sure patients get the care they need.

“We are utilizing the nurse and bringing on the CNA, a certified nursing assistant or a PCTA a patient care technician and have them work in teams so that one nurse can manage more patients,” Merta said.

Merta and many others say people are showing up to hospitals looking for COVID-19 tests. That’s putting a strain on operations.

“One thing I want your viewers to understand is the ER is here for an acute care emergency,” Merta said. “If you have minor illnesses or you are looking for a testing site please go to the Southern Nevada Health District.”

“National Nurses United” plans to shed light on the staffing problems during a demonstration tomorrow nationwide.

Here locally it will be outside Mountain View Hospital at 8 a.m.  A representative from Mountain View said no one cares more for our colleagues than they do.

They say it is disappointing that the labor union leadership doesn’t recognize the valuable contributions of all colleagues who are working to help patients.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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