Traveling nurses assisting Lowcountry Hospitals as patient demand increases, new COVID-19 units created

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Local hospitals are scrambling to increase staff as nearly 76 percent of all available hospital beds in the Charleston area are occupied, many with COVID-19 patients.

Lowcountry Hospitals say they are less concerned with the number of hospital beds available, as they can always add more. They say what is harder to ensure at this point in time is that there is enough staff to be alongside them.

Happy Everett, the Chief Nursing Officer for Roper St. Francis Hospital in Mount Pleasant says they are feeling the pressure of demand as they saw a 500% increase of patients in under a month.

Right now—it’s all hands on deck. 

Happy Everett, Chief Nursing Officer RSFH Mt. Pleasant 

Everett says they went from 19 patients across 2 hospitals to 111 across all 4 hospitals in a short period of time. The increase for them has been quite a challenge.  

She says the difference from the last surge in 2020 to now, is that many who are not dealing with COVID-19 related ailments are no longer fearful of their Emergency Departments.

To combat the strain on their hospitals and nursing staff, they began providing incentives for others in the hospital to help out. However, on Monday, 38 traveling nurses are settling into Roper St. Francis Healthcare for the foreseeable future. 

Coming from all across the country that are coming here to help us open an additional unit here at mount pleasant hospital and then we have more coming that are opening an additional unit at st. Francis as well.  

Happy Everett, Chief Nursing Officer RSFH Mt. Pleasant

The additional nursing staff, hoping to assist with both physician and nurse burnout, a plague hospital administrations have been battling not long after the start of the pandemic.

Everett says in her opinion, the additional traveling nurses couldn’t have been more timely as they give the other nurses a chance to breathe. 

While those 38 traveling nurses just began, more positions remain available, for more information click here.

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