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State leaders find solutions to growing healthcare worker shortage

Posted at 10:04 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 03:48:41-04

Addressing the healthcare worker shortage, State leaders are meeting next week to share solutions on the issue.

"It's almost difficult to put into words the magnitude of the crisis," Florida Hospital Association President and CEO Mary Mayhew said

Mayhew said the shortage started two years ago, but covid made it worse.

"People got burned out," Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for the Florida Healthcare Association said. "They left the profession. They were scared. They didn't want to work in healthcare anymore or they needed to stay home because of personal issues or childcare issues."

Knapp said the shortage is especially seen in nurses, from hospitals to long term care facilities.

FHA said over the past year, covid contributed to a 25% turnover rate among nurses in Florida.

In a study, Mayhew said they've found in the next 10 years, Florida hospitals will be in need of 60,000 nurses if this continues.
Mayhew said education is key.

"I think it is the key to bridging the gap," Clandra Stringer Tallahassee Community College Provost and VP for academic affairs said.

Stringer said TCC has seen an increase in enrollment for their health care programs, but one thing they're missing is staff.

"We don't have enough educators in our state to train new nurses and bring them into the profession," Knapp said.

Knapp said there also needs to be more resources to provide more competitive salaries, which starts with state lawmakers.

"We just want to make sure those healthcare heroes are properly supportive through the wages, the benefits, and the incentives," Knapp said.

The Health Care Workforce Coalition will be meeting Monday at 10:30 to announce more solutions and explain how they plan to present them to state law makers.

FHCA Education and Training Center at 307 W. Park Avenue, Tallahassee.