CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Thursday marks the state of Nurse Appreciation Week, and with a year of hardships, nurses said that this Nurses Appreciation Week is even more special. However, the celebration comes amid a staffing shortage in the industry, where 1 million nurses are set to retire by 2030.
Lowcountry hospital systems said the need felt back in January is still prevalent. As across the Lowcountry, hundreds of positions remain open for registered nurses. The reasoning behind the continued openings comes down to a few answers.
Happy Everett, the Chief Nursing Officer with Roper St. Francis, says at her hospital system, 88 positions remain open. She believes that there are 3 factors contributing to the shortage.
She said the first is the aging nurse, followed by an aging population. People are living longer so they have more chronic health problems. Ultimately, this takes a toll on a nurse when dealing with the bedside and adds to nursing burnout.
Everett said, “with COVID, I think we’re at a point where we know it’s not going to go away so we feel prepared at least.”
Mary Kaye Halterman, the Chief Nursing Officer with Trident Healthcare, said for their healthcare system, they’ve created an environment where mental health brings the same concern as physical ailments. However, she believes there might be longer impacts.
She said, “we going to have a delayed response as a healthcare giver to now I’m really exhausted, why am I so exhausted and why do I feel like I just can’t get out of bed and go to work every day and recognizing that in yourself and saying this is okay, I’m okay, I have been working hard.”
While nurses are resilient, those in the field remind us today—they are still human.
Though it may still be a challenging time to be in the medical profession, both Roper St. Francis and Trident Health explained it is also one of the most important for calling on those young and ready to join the field.
Trident Health said they have hiring events twice a month and are looking for fresh graduates, while Roper St. Francis Healthcare said they too are looking for new and young hires.
We did reach out to the Medical University of South Carolina to hear how many vacancies they currently have and are awaiting a response.