Area hospitals in North and South Carolina have ranked in the top percentile for critical staffing shortages.
Channel 9′s Glenn Counts looked into the numbers and what’s behind the shortfall.
Hospitals have been on the front lines when it comes to the pandemic, with staffers risking their personal safety on a daily basis.
Another issue many staffers said they faced was getting burned out due to heavy workloads.
“It’s been very difficult for those who work in the hospital,” said Cathy Madigan, chief nurse at UNC Health. “So I think there is certainly an element of burnout.”
According to Health and Human Services data, South Carolina ranks second in the nation when it comes to critical strafing shortages with almost 24% of facilities falling into that category. North Carolina ranks 10th with nearly 12%.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise. I mean most hospitals in our state and around the country are struggling,” said Lara Hewitt with the South Carolina Hospital Association. “There are shortages. All of the hospitals are feeling the pain of that.”
Hospital administrators told Channel 9 that they thought the shortages would fade as the pandemic eased, but that has not been the case.
“Predicted that a lot of people would come back, but I don’t think most of us are seeing that,” Madigan said. “I think we’re still seeing that there are struggles with recruiting an appropriate number of nursing staff. So it’s a dilemma for all of us. I see it across the country.”
When asked if patient care has been jeopardized due to the staffing shortages in each state, both experts said no but admitted that hospitals will have to be more flexible going forward.
“We are having to juggle things a lot more. I think that it was always a complex environment, but certainly you’re right, it’s even more so,” Madigan said.
“Hospitals are really good about when they know they are not going to have enough staff to be able to care for patients. They will close units,” Hewitt said.
Some hospitals said they are making up the difference by contracting outside help. Others said they may cut back on services that were routinely done during the pandemic.
Last week, South Carolina announced it will be opening a new hospital in Fort Mill in September.
The hospital said it is currently only 50% staffed, but it hopes to bring more people on board after it hosts a hiring event.
That event is set to take place from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenway Gateway.
(WATCH BELOW: Nurses say they are caring for more patients, causing many to leave their careers)