Nursing shortage in South Florida has healthcare facilities scrambling to counter the talent drain
There is a nursing shortage in South Florida that is undeniably of crisis proportions. Health care providers, who are on the front lines of this life-endangering problem, said today that they are determined to reverse the staffing shortage.
The South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association are teaming up with LifeWings Peak Performance and holding an urgently needed two-day virtual discussion on May 12-13. Florida's leaders in the profession will, in a quick-hit format, address why nursing vacancies in this region of the state are quickly rising and putting the quality of care in jeopardy.
For further details, including how to register, visit the webinar link: End Staffing Stress and Burnout (sfhha.com).
“To begin with, the stress of working in healthcare for the past 15 or 20 years has become quite untenable," said presenter; Dr. Andrew Grose, Orthopedic Surgeon/Hospital for Special Surgery. “The pandemic is just the spark on an already dry haystack.”
The combination of on-the-job stress and the added burden of the COVID-19 pandemic at times overwhelming critical care providers are pushing nurses either out of Florida and a better work environment, more lucrative opportunities or out of the profession entirely.
“Some healthcare systems have lost 300 to 500 nurses, longtime trained staff to other states,” said Senior Vice President Richard Doss of LifeWings, which is putting on the two 30-minute sessions aimed at reviewing what can be done in the short-term and more systemically to reverse the talent drain.
“There are massive incentives for these healthcare professionals to leave,” Doss said. “Other states are preying on South Florida and getting nurses, lab workers, and respiratory therapists to relocate for three months to work for triple pay and take the rest of the year off.”
Doss said the crisis is significantly affecting what he calls "the casual and part-time nursing workforce who is in their 50s and 60s."
Unlike their younger colleagues, who are more willing to relocate, the more veteran nurses who have scaled back late in their careers, "they are finding that their mom or dad has COVID and don't want to work anymore. Or they contracted COVID and don't want to work anymore. It's a hassle and stressful."
Doss said the intensive care and critical care units are being impacted more than other medical services.
“These are high-intensity areas where you are admitting many COVID patients,” he said. “It's not easy to replace these kinds of nurses with a brand new one out of school.
Dr. Grose acknowledges that the stress of the job and non-competitive pay only explain a few reasons why markets across the country are losing nurses.
“Anytime people are leaving to go somewhere else, they are feeling they will be more appreciated in any sense of that word, financially or in terms of support at work or serving a community that they feel cares about them,” Grose said.
“Most hospitals acknowledge theirs a communication disconnect, especially during a crisis,” he said. “The frontline workers know a lot about the work and need to be listened to. And the leaders know about the organizational stuff and budgeting, but they have to listen to their workers.”
A Nurse Grid survey reports the percentage of nurses reporting burnout exploding to 61 percent from April to December 2020. 40 percent are concerned about their mental health and 22 percent stated they plan to leave bedside care or the nursing field entirely in 2021.
SFHHA Webinars At-A-Glance
What: Florida’s Healthcare Workers Crisis
Who: The South Florida Hospital Association & Life Wings Peak Performance Team
When: May 12 & 13th, 2021 / Times both Days: 930am to 1030am ET
Why: Top, Florida Healthcare Leaders, address Staffing Stress and Burnout Issues
The two-day webinar is built around an open-ended conversation to share what's been working where nurses are retained and not working at particular hospitals and healthcare systems. Several experts, one a former healthcare chief operating officer and another a top human factors expert, will participate.
There will also be a question-and-answer period, including a Chief Nursing Officer from South Florida on hand to share her insight.
We have a crisis throughout American healthcare,” Dr. Grose said. “Add in the pandemic, and it’s like turning on the light and seeing all the cockroaches. They were always there.”