Cal Matters: Hospitals brace for strikes as California workers protest staff shortages

Cal Matters: Hospitals brace for strikes as California workers protest staff shortages. “As weary health care workers across California enter the 19th month of the pandemic, thousands are walking off the job and onto the picket line, demanding more staffing. The strikes and rallies threaten to cripple hospital operations that have been inundated by the COVID-19 Delta surge as well as patients seeking long-delayed care.”

‘Emotionally, physically, mentally tired’: Nurses say morale has hit a pandemic low (Washington Post)

Washington Post: ‘Emotionally, physically, mentally tired’: Nurses say morale has hit a pandemic low. “In interviews, nurses across the country describe plummeting morale during the latest pandemic surge, marked by utter exhaustion and growing workloads. Some thought the availability of coronavirus vaccines would alleviate the burden on hospitals. Instead, emergency rooms were swamped this summer and early fall, often filled with the young and unvaccinated. The crisis has exacerbated staffing problems that existed before the pandemic, leaving nurses shouldering increasing responsibilities as covid-19 patients fill their units. Some nurses are leaving hospital jobs for more lucrative travel nursing positions. Others are leaving the profession altogether.”

PBS News: Rural U.S. hospitals stretched thin after nurse shortage exacerbated by the pandemic

PBS News: Rural U.S. hospitals stretched thin after nurse shortage exacerbated by the pandemic. “Nursing shortages are impacting healthcare workers and hospitals across the United States. In just the past few days, nurses and other workers in Southern California and Oregon authorized a potential strike against provider Kaiser Permanente. Staffing shortages are part of those disputes. John Yang reports from South Florida on how shortages are affecting hospitals there.”

Ghost towns: Nursing home staffing falls amid pandemic (Associated Press)

Associated Press: Ghost towns: Nursing home staffing falls amid pandemic. “Even before COVID-19 bared the truth of a profit-driven industry with too few caring for society’s most vulnerable, thin staffing was a hallmark of nursing homes around the country. Now, staffing is even thinner, with about one-third of U.S. nursing homes reporting lower levels of nurses and aides than before the pandemic began ravaging their facilities, an Associated Press analysis of federal data finds.”

VA hospital nurse charged with stealing and selling covid vaccination cards: ‘I charge $150 for these’ (Washington Post)

Washington Post: VA hospital nurse charged with stealing and selling covid vaccination cards: ‘I charge $150 for these’. “When a person messaged Bethann Kierczak requesting coronavirus vaccine cards this spring, the registered nurse promised she would do her best, court records state. Kierczak, a nurse at a Michigan Veterans Affairs hospital, had access to immunization records since she was responsible for administering the doses. But the requester, who is not identified in court records, needed 10 vaccine cards.”

Opinion: State medical boards should punish doctors who spread false information about covid and vaccines (Washington Post)

Washington Post: Opinion: State medical boards should punish doctors who spread false information about covid and vaccines. “In hindsight, it’s clear that the virus has had an accomplice — the infodemic, as the World Health Organization calls this parallel epidemic of disinformation. Regrettably, much of it is circulated by a small number of unethical physicians in league with political interests, who intentionally generate and repeat false allegations and undermine the public health response. Individual front-line physicians are powerless to restrain those misguided colleagues. We now call on our country’s regulatory bodies, primarily the state medical boards, to take the requisite disciplinary measures — including suspension or revocation of guilty physicians’ licenses to practice medicine.”

Xinhua: Turkish nurses detained for issuing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards

Xinhua: Turkish nurses detained for issuing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. “Turkish police detained three nurses on Tuesday for allegedly providing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to unvaccinated people, local media reported. Acting on a tip-off, police teams apprehended the nurses who work at a private hospital in Bahcelievler district on the European side of Istanbul, said Turkey’s English newspaper Daily Sabah.”

Texas Tribune: Verbal and physical attacks on health workers surge as emotions boil during latest COVID-19 wave

Texas Tribune: Verbal and physical attacks on health workers surge as emotions boil during latest COVID-19 wave. “The pandemic-related rise in tensions across the U.S. is not unique to the hospital industry. Airlines are reporting an increase in aggressive passengers as flight attendants take self-defense classes. Police are reporting an increase in violent crime and road rage incidents…. But unlike airlines, which can permanently ban passengers, hospitals are more limited in how they can respond or prevent those instances.”

Each COVID-19 surge poses a risk for healthcare workers: PTSD (Reuters)

Reuters: Each COVID-19 surge poses a risk for healthcare workers: PTSD. “Nurse Chris Prott’s knees jump, his heart races, his mouth goes dry and his mind floods with dark memories when he talks about working in the Milwaukee VA Medical Center’s intensive care unit (ICU) during pandemic surges. Prott shares a struggle common to many of the military veterans for whom he has cared for years: symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

HuffPost: Coronavirus Pandemic Sparks Nurse Staffing Crisis At U.S. Hospitals

HuffPost: Coronavirus Pandemic Sparks Nurse Staffing Crisis At U.S. Hospitals. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer. The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.”

Slate: Why I Finally Had to Quit Working in a COVID Ward

Slate: Why I Finally Had to Quit Working in a COVID Ward. “Nobody from other specialties wanted to come into a COVID unit. You’d have people crying in the morning, ‘I need cardiology and neurology.’ And they’d be like, ‘Is that patient positive? We can’t see him. Do this.’ It was like you were out there on an island all by yourself. One of the most amazing things I saw—we had a patient dying, had the family come up. They had to be careful; they had to make sure they were negative. And we called the chaplain up. And the chaplain comes up, and he’s like, ‘Oh, is this patient COVID positive?’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah.’ And he’s like, ‘I can’t go in there.’ And three of the NPs just broke down. It was unreal.”

‘I think we already broke’: Mississippi’s nurses are resigning to protect themselves from Covid-19 burnout (CNN)

CNN: ‘I think we already broke’: Mississippi’s nurses are resigning to protect themselves from Covid-19 burnout. “Mississippi now has at least 2,000 fewer nurses than it did at the beginning of the year, according to the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Center for Quality & Workforce. The staff shortages add to the growing strain on the state’s hospital system — both due, in large part, to the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked if the health care system is reaching a breaking point, Singing River Nursing Manager for Personal Care Buddy Gager said, ‘I think we already broke.’”

Some Nebraskans outraged at state’s recruiting ad for unvaccinated nurses: ‘It feels insulting to the profession’ (Washington Post)

Washington Post: Some Nebraskans outraged at state’s recruiting ad for unvaccinated nurses: ‘It feels insulting to the profession’. “When Abbey Klein opened her mailbox on Monday, she found a postcard from the state of Nebraska advertising nursing jobs with bonuses as high as $5,000. Klein, a registered nurse who lives in Omaha, said she had received similar ads from the state in the past. But something stood out on this card. Bold letters inside a bright box read: ‘No mandated COVID-19 Vaccination.’ The message was under a photo of smiling health-care workers.”