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Officials Warn Nursing Shortage In NW La. Could Impact Healthcare

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Courtesy: Nurses.org

LOCAL NURSING SHORTAGE- There has always been a need for healthcare professionals as an aging population puts more stress on medical care facilities by increasing demand for services. But the past two years of pandemic have really taken their toll on the profession as more nurses are either shifting to higher-paying contract / travel positions or leaving the profession, the so-called “great resignation” due to the stresses and demands of their work. Yesterday in Shreveport regional healthcare officials joined Mayor Adrian Perkins at Government Plaza downtown to bring public attention to the local nursing shortage.

CEO of Willis-Knighton Health Center Jeff Fielder said the high death toll during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many nurses to quit.

“I’ll tell you one of the nurse executives at Willis-Knighton told me a few months ago that the nurses who have graduated in the last three years and come to work at hospitals have seen more death in the last three years than most nurses see in a lifetime and that is something that a nursing school just cannot prepare you for. And as a result we’ve had several nurses leave the profession altogether,” Fielder said.

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Courtesy: Mayor Adrian Perkins Facebook
Jeff Fielder, CEO for Willis-Knighton Health System

While the nursing shortage is nothing new, the pandemic only made things worse despite federal aid which allowed hospitals to hire more traveling nurses but at much higher pay than local hospitals would be able to continue on their own. That federal funding ends this Friday. Local hospital officials say anyone going to the hospital in the near future could expect longer emergency room wait times and less nurses available for bedside care.

Rural hospitals may not be able to transfer patients to larger city hospitals due to the shortages which are expected to last at least for the next 60 days.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.