Nursing shortage impacts U.S. facility and others abroad

A Nebraska hospital has closed its doors due to a nursing shortage, according to a Kearney Hub article published online June 8. CHI Health Good Samaritan closed its Transitional Care Unit after management suffered staffing challenges.

“TCU, previously located on the fourth floor of the main hospital building, was a separate, skilled nursing facility that provided short-term, skilled nursing care to medically complex patients, rehab patients and end of life care patients,” the article stated.

“The unit was licensed for 22 beds and had 24 staff members. Because of staffing challenges, the hospital was limited to care for only 16 patients at a time.”

Michael Schnieders, the hospital’s CEO, quoted in the article from an email, said, “As a skilled nursing unit, TCU works very differently than any other unit of our hospital. It is not an acute unit, but more like a nursing home. Unlike the other nursing homes here in town, it happens to be located inside the walls of the hospital.”

The article noted that Good Samaritan has 26 openings for nurses and currently employs 530.

Referencing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2014-2024, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing states on its website that “Registered Nursing is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2024. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024, an increase of 439,300 or 16%.”

It went on to say that “The bureau also projects the need for 649,100 replacement nurses in the workforce bringing the total number of job openings for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.09 million by 2024.”

While the U.S. continues to struggle with its nursing shortage, similar issues are seen abroad. BBC News reported last December that Minehead Community Hospital in England had to be shut down temporarily “on the grounds of patient safety.” The decision was based on a “deteriorating staffing situation,” according to the article, which meant that only half of the required number of nurses were available.

“The trust’s chief operating officer Andy Heron said the trust had ‘worked hard’ to recruit new nurses but had ‘exhausted all recruitment possibilities’ and it continued ‘to suffer from a national shortage of registered nurses,’” the article stated. Heron stated in the article, “We cannot recruit enough permanent nurses to provide safe numbers of staff for each shift across both Minehead and Williton hospitals. “We have therefore decided temporarily to consolidate inpatient beds into the one hospital for West Somerset.”

Meanwhile, a hospital in Dublin, Ireland, closed this spring due to a shortage of nurses. “More than 200 patients with serious spinal and brain injuries will face a longer wait for treatment after the closure of beds at the National Rehabilitation Hospital,” an April 9 Sunday Independent (Ireland) article on Press Reader stated. “It is one of a number of hospitals across the health service where units are not being fully utilised because of resource issues and a shortage of nurses.”

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