Augusta hospitals battle nursing shortage

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The effects of the nationwide nursing shortage are being felt in Augusta. According to Vivian, a healthcare job service, there are 430 positions available in the area. East Central Regional Hospital is feeling this firsthand. They teamed up with Augusta University Health for a career fair Thursday, looking for new and experienced nurses and technicians to care for their mental health patients.

“We’re looking for compassionate, caring and competent nurses to help us take care of our mental health population — people who are reliable, dependable and have a passion for taking care of others,” Corina Barrow, the Chief Nurse Executive of East Central Regional Hospital, explains.

Doctors Hospital, University Hospital and AU Health are in need too.

“We’re still providing excellent care for our patients,” Dr. Phillip Coule, the Chief Medical Officer of AU Health, says. “We’ve repurposed people who would normally be doing other things. But, our biggest shortage is actually in nursing care.”

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the nationwide nursing shortage comes down to a few reasons — the country’s population is aging, not enough applicants are being accepted to nursing school, existing nurses are retiring and they are burned out, especially after working through a pandemic.

“There are so many nurses leaving bedside nursing altogether and going to completely different fields,” Amanda Alexander, registered nurse at AU Health, says. “They’re tired. They’re worn out. I can’t blame them.”

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