Commenting on Nurses' conditions during COVID time Patricia Pittman, Ph.D., director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. explains: “There’s a feeling of betrayal by the society,” “There’s incredible frustration that this was avoidable.”
Health field leaders have been warning for years that hospitals face a nursing shortage. One widely cited study projects a shortfall of 510,394 registered nurses by 2030. The main reasons, according to such groups as the American Nurses Association, are waves of baby boomer nurses entering retirement age, an aging population that will require more medical care (and more doctors and nurses), faculty shortages that limit the capacity of nursing schools to accept more students, and more nurses moving away from direct patient care or leaving the health field altogether because of stress.
COVID-19 has intensified some of those conditions. The first surges last year compelled many nurses and other health care workers to leave their jobs, but the vast majority battled through the exhaustion, despair, and fear out of a sense of duty and with faith that medical researchers would find ways to combat the disease. They just had to hang on until then.
This time, the exhaustion of caring for critically ill patients is paired with frustration over the disease’s repeated resurgence. As the delta variant hits some areas harder than previous surges did, and as the nation stands divided about stemming the pandemic through vaccinations and masks, many health care workers see no end in sight.
“There’s a feeling of betrayal by the society,” explains Patricia Pittman, PhD, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “There’s incredible frustration that this was avoidable.”
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