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Nursing shortage still on the rise in the Big Bend and South Georgia

Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 08:47:53-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Hospitals across Florida are seeing historically high turnover and vacancy rates.

"We are experiencing one of the worst workforce shortages that our hospitals have seen in decades," said Mary Mayhew, the President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association.

Mayhew stated hospitals have increased their labor costs by 45% since 2019 because of their reliance on traveling nurses.

"Not all of these nurses are traveling cross country in many instances they're traveling across county but still being paid this significantly higher wage as a traveling nurse through a staffing agency and again they're working shoulder to shoulder with full time employees at the hospital and there's a great disparity in their wages," added Mayhew.

Florida nursing homes are also dealing with a nursing shortage. According to Kristen Knapp with the Florida Health care Association, they are not seeing many new individuals entering the profession.

What about South Georgia?

"We have experienced a shortage of nursing staff," said Whitney Costin, the Nurse Recruiter at Colquitt Regional Medical Center in Moultrie.

Costin said there's a big need for medical surgical nurses at the hospital who typically work in the intensive care unit. I asked if quality of care has been impacted.

"Certainly that's something we'd never want to compromise we have worked really hard to maintain our ratios the nurse to patient ratio and so we've been able to do that," added Costin.

Costin, Knapp, and Mayhew are all working with local schools to increase the pipeline of nurses to fill those workforce gaps, and are hopeful for the future.

"That won't happen overnight so it's a combination of both helping to support and retain our nurses and healthcare professionals but continuing to increase the supply," said Mayhew.

HCA Florida Capital Hospital is also hosting a hiring event next week to fill the nursing needs in their labor and delivery department. The event is set to take place September 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Ology Brewing Company, located at 2910 Kerry Forest Parkway in Tallahassee.

Click here to register for the hiring event.