In a prepared statement, MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine acknowledged that the pandemic has put stress on health care institutions.
“The sudden increase in overall patients, and particularly very sick patients needing intensive care, is challenging,” she said, and explained it takes time to hire more medical professionals to meet this new need. “Our clinical team also must significantly modify how they take care of patients yet remain safe and provide high quality care. All of this is quite stressful to the care team. We recognize this is occurring as we attempt to care for as many patients as possible across the state. The courage and dedication that our MUSC Health nursing team continues to demonstrate despite these challenges does not go unnoticed and our appreciation for their incredible work is heartfelt.”
MUSC employs more than 3,000 nurses across its facilities, Woolwine said, and the hospital system has already directed millions of dollars to support nursing retention since the start of the pandemic.
Still, some nurses who spoke with the newspaper say measures implemented by the hospital haven’t been enough. And they are scared that the ratio of nurses to patients has become dangerous as the hospital is overwhelmed once again by COVID-19. They say their co-workers are leaving in large numbers for positions with more money and the ones left behind are depressed and exhausted, fearful that the shortage at MUSC has reached a critical tipping point with more than 600 openings for nurses unfilled across the hospital system, according to the hospital’s human resources website.
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