Alexander, a skilled critical disease nurse, had spent the previous two months working endless shifts in the San Francisco Bay Area ICU unit, precisely as the first wave of COVID-19 patients arrived.
Even though she had given so much, the situation was bleak: beds, ventilators, protective gowns, facemasks, and even mortuary space were in short supply, but the victims continued to arrive. And there was no sign of a resolution in sight.
Nurses Struggle With Shortage And Absences As Another COVID Wave
Following another shift, “she had a breakdown at work that day,” Alexander explains. She began sobbing and couldn’t seem to stop for the next three or four weeks.
Although intensive counseling aided, Alexander’s post-traumatic stress disorder was so terrible that “simple things” like a dead houseplant would make her cry.
One question that came up repeatedly in conversations with co-workers was why continue in such a difficult, dangerous, and seemingly thankless profession.
Trained nurses are much in demand due to the continuous flow of patients in different states and the present staff is not able to mitigate the requirements of nursing due to this situation.
“Nursing staff is among the most valued professions,” Alexander says, but she’s not feeling it after tough, long shifts, scavenging for protective equipment, and self-isolating at home to keep loved ones safe from infection. “’ No, really, nobody bothers if they live or die, and that was truly breath-taking for us,” she said
Alexander’s experience isn’t exceptional. The country’s nursing corps is in trouble now since the fourth wave of COVID-19 has hit the US healthcare system, which has been under strain owing to a staffing shortfall that predates the outbreak.
As hospitals in the United States once again facing out of ICU bed availability, management is hustling to fill shifts and giving high pay to individuals who can assist.
The issue arises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s oppressive workload, as well as external as well as on pressures, forcing some nurses to retire.
Front-line nurses are stressed out, fed up, and mistreated, according to both data and experiences. Although hospitals are paying a high price for professional nurses due to the lack in the sector, a huge influx of nurses might be on the line.
As per a May evaluation of the nation’s nursing shortage issued by the University of St. Augustine School for Health Sciences, “the courage and commitment of American’s nurses have been shown in around the nation all through the COVID-19 pandemic.” “Yet, the epidemic has placed a significant burden on doctors and the medical system.”
The converging challenges have far-reaching implications for both patients and nurses as per research, stressed nurses seem to be more prone to make mistakes while treating a patient.
Specialists say the burden of a once-in-a-generation health catastrophe doesn’t help lessen the likelihood of suicide and drug addiction in a profession that has a high risk of both.
According to Amy WitkoskiStimpfel, an assistant professor at New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing, the situation has been “very disheartening” for nurses presently in the job.
Many people reported being concerned about working short-staffed and reluctant to go to work.
And being on the first lines and watching the sorts of deaths that were so terrible and painful, she could see why individuals would want to leave immediate patient care or choose new care completely.
Linda McCauley, dean of Emory University’s Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, said, “She was simply speaking to a chief nursing officer week ago, and she said, ‘I simply don’t know whether we have the endurance to go through with this anymore,” McCauley recalled.