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Mississippi's nurses are resigning to protect themselves from Covid-19 burnout

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Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Mississippi's nurses are resigning to protect themselves from Covid-19 burnout

'It feels like we're fighting an unwinnable war': Nurse on decision to resign.
 

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..."It looks heroic," Atherton, of Singing River Ocean Springs Hospital, told CNN. "But that's not what it is. It's sweaty and hard and chaotic and bloody. And it's hard to live in this every day and then go home and live a normal life."

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....

 

 

toomuchbaloney

Has 43 years experience.

I was invited to bring my ICU experience out of retirement to sign a contract in Mississippi. 

Instead of just offering money, why don't they provide non-punitive rest leaves for recharging, paid, even if only at half pay, or 3/4 pay rates?  Maybe if these people could rest, some of them might stick with the jobs.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

I have received a ton of texts trying to lure me into those jobs. They don't want me. I have no ICU experience (nor real ER experience either). Otherwise I might consider it just to help my brothers and sisters on the front lines.

I worry for them. Moral injury is real and devastating. They need respite.

I saw that on Twitter. Many replies were along the lines of "get paramedics in there to help...aren't there lots of new nurses graduating? I see empty beds in the hospital, so they are lying when they say hospitals don't have enough beds..."

People are clueless about this, but it doesn't stop them from pontificating about it as if they were experts.

There is no amount of money that could convince me to go back to the ICU right now. I really feel for these nurses.

toomuchbaloney

Has 43 years experience.

3 minutes ago, Horseshoe said:

I saw that on Twitter. Many replies were along the lines of "get paramedics in there to help...aren't there lots of new nurses graduating? I see empty beds in the hospital, so they are lying when they say hospitals don't have enough beds..."

People are clueless about this, but it doesn't stop them from pontificating about it as if they were experts.

There is no amount of money that could convince me to go back to the ICU right now. I really feel for these nurses.

Agreed. 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Well that's just it, isn't it? Beds may be available, but staff are not. They are crumbling under a failing system being made much worse by a disease that now can be mitigated by vaccination.

If that is not frustrating, what is? It will get worse. And people will have to get used to the idea that empty beds mean no nurses are there to staff them.

Until it happens to THEM, however, why give a damn.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 6 years experience.

I don't blame them. The vast majority of these admissions could have been preventable. 

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

On 8/28/2021 at 9:59 AM, SmilingBluEyes said:

I have received a ton of texts trying to lure me into those jobs. They don't want me. I have no ICU experience (nor real ER experience either). Otherwise I might consider it just to help my brothers and sisters on the front lines.

I worry for them. Moral injury is real and devastating. They need respite.

Same here. I'm a home health private duty nurse. I would sink in the hospital. I'm doing that which I can do . . . in the homes.

The general public does not understand (what the COVID nurses are going through). I try to gently provide the information that they need and to reason with them.

There are those who refuse to listen; there's not much that I can do for them.

 

HarleyvQuinn, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Primary Care, Military. Has 14 years experience.

On 8/28/2021 at 12:45 PM, Horseshoe said:

I saw that on Twitter. Many replies were along the lines of "get paramedics in there to help...aren't there lots of new nurses graduating? I see empty beds in the hospital, so they are lying when they say hospitals don't have enough beds..."

People are clueless about this, but it doesn't stop them from pontificating about it as if they were experts.

There is no amount of money that could convince me to go back to the ICU right now. I really feel for these nurses.

Maybe with the vast salaries, they're paying Admins, they can get them to tend those empty beds. 😏

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

On 8/29/2021 at 7:36 AM, OUxPhys said:

I don't blame them. The vast majority of these admissions could have been preventable. 

I think that's the part that's getting the most frustrating. I'm in a small critical care unit in a small hospital. Right now I think our COVID patient population is only about 10% of our total beds. I know that in my ICU we have had about a dozen patients in the past month. Of those, only two were vaccinated. and one of them was severely immunocompromised. I try to remain completely non-judgmental about my patients, but I admit sometimes a little judgment creeps in there. I understand that no one tried to contract COVID, that's not the same thing as refusing the vaccine.

The vast majority of the admissions in my unit are preventable. If people didn't drink alcohol, overdose on drugs, continue to smoke with their COPD, took care of their diabetes and hypertension, etc. I wouldn't have a job. It's rare that we have healthy people that take good care of themselves in ICU. But none of those other conditions put us as healthcare workers, and our families and loved ones, at risk. I'm not going to unknowingly transmit a heroin overdose to my own parents because I was exposed to it at work. I believe in my PPE, I am vaccinated, so I think the risk of anything happening to me is VERY small. But, I can understand the frustration of nurses overwhelmed with these patients that might have taken a better course to prevent their situation.  

dogmombyday, RN

Specializes in CCRN, ATCN certified.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Mississippi is going to be the only state losing nurses in droves. And the nurse quoted in the article summed it up so well. At first, we were heroes, and now a lot of people think we’re part of some governmental scheme to control their lives through a vaccine. But neither of those scenarios are true. It is an absolutely horrific time to work in the hospital, period, but especially in critical care. Over the weekend, we lost a man in his 40s who was otherwise healthy. Another woman in her 40s passed two days later. That doesn’t count the older people we’re losing or the non covid deaths. That’s a lot for a unit with 22 beds. And we had a few other deaths within that time period. 
 

I spent the next day in a daze almost. There’s no way to explain to my husband the way I see people dying, he’s not medical and he tries his best but there aren’t words. Even when we are able to get a patient supine for a few hours, after days of lying on their face, they barely even look like a person anymore from all of the swelling and wounds that develop despite our best efforts. 
 

And worst of all, it isn’t just non medical people who spread misinformation about the virus and the vaccine, there are nurses as well. Though, I will say, most of the ones I see spreading it are not ICU nurses. I almost wish there was a way for the general public as well as non ICU/non covid nurses who don’t believe it’s this bad, to follow me for just a few hours during a shift and see what this disease looks like. Supine and prone, new chest tubes for the pneumos that like to pop up on these people, rectal tube and foley, CRRT because their kidneys quit working a week ago but they’re too unstable for regular HD, oozing from catheter sites because their liver has also taken a hit. Tongue swollen out of their mouth, eyes swollen shut, ET tube and OGT coming out of the mouth. Multiple pressors, sedation and a paralytic running. Zapping them with the ToF to make sure they’re adequately paralyzed while also watching for vent asynchrony, and don’t forget the BIS to make sure they’re sedated enough, too. It’s just this endless dance we do over and over, and for patients who, at best, make it out “alive” but with a trach and peg and getting sent to an LTACH or SNF. 
 

this was more rambling than I intended but I am so tired. So, I guess, if you’re reading this and you think it’s “not that bad” or “no one you know has died from it” or whatever excuse you use, please know that it is, actually, that bad. And while no one you know may have died, I have seen more than enough death to last me the rest of my career in the last year and a half. 

Edited by dogmombyday