Where Lowcountry hospitals stand amid the national nursing shortage

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry hospitals say they’ve been successful in fighting a nationwide Nurse shortage.

Marissa Jamarik, the Vice President of Nursing with Roper St. Francis (RSFH) says they’ve hired over 90% of their initial goal in an effort to combat the ongoing nursing shortage. 

Jamarik says if you were to walk through the halls of RSFH “you would see while they appear tired, they are grieving for their patients, they care for their patients in a way that is just astonishing”. 

Throughout the past month,173 Travel Nurses and Respiratory Therapists have been contracted by Roper St. Francis. Those medical professionals, stemming from all over the country.

Ahead of the 3rd surge, Jamarik notes that RSFH recognized once the numbers began to escalate that we were going to need to bring additional staff in. The additional staff was part of their emergency operations plan which included opening additional beds as needed to assist with the volume that began hitting their Emergency Departments.  

For the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), they say as of Tuesday, 289 Registered Nurses (RN) are in orientation, 333 positions are open, 81 traveling Nurses have been hired among 5 new international nurses.

MUSC also notes their RN turnover a year ago was 16.09% (2019-20) and now it is 24.6%, “so we have seen additional turnover over the past 12 months. We have many leaving for travel nurse positions where their salaries are significantly higher. The crisis rates are upwards of $6-9k per week for a 48-60 hour week in some states”.

At Trident Medical Center, Tami Frost, the Chief Nursing Officer says in part, in her more than 20 years in healthcare the need for nurses around the country has never been greater than it is now. Yet she remains proud of those who show up to every shift and continue to provide compassionate care. 

That need, according to Jamarik will continue on even past this current surge 

Jamarik says she believes the number one item that can assist with caregiver fatigue is for the public to continue their safe COVID protocols.

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