Twenty-two percent hospitals say they'll face a critical staff shortage in the next week.

Updated:   Published

  • Home Health Columnist / Guide
    Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 46 years experience.

Even esteemed Mayo Clinic reassigning researchers to patient care after 900+ employees contracted COVID-19 in the last two weeks! 


ABC News Nov.21, 2020

Hospitals nationwide face shortage of medical staff amid spike in COVID-19 cases








...Hospitals across the country are facing an influx of COVID-19 patients, the most Americans hospitalized for the disease at any other point in the pandemic. And after struggling with shortages of personal protective equipment, intensive care unit beds, ventilators and other equipment, hospitals are now facing a shortage of a harder to replace resource - health care workers.

While hospitals can add beds, it is much harder to bring in additional health care workers, many of whom are justifiably experiencing a significant emotional and physical toll due to the impact of the pandemic,” Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety policy for the American Hospital Association said in a statement.

Eighteen percent of hospitals in the country said they had a critical shortage of medical staff on Nov. 18, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services first obtained by The Atlantic. And 22% say they expect to experience a critical staffing shortage in the next week.

In some states the statistics are even worse. In five states, more than a third of hospitals report critical staffing shortages....

...Nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, made the difficult decision to strike last week.  < After 2 days strike,  RN's locked out until today11/22/20 > Jim Gentile, a registered nurse at St. Mary’s, said they were being put in a dangerous situation because so many nurses have left that hospital for higher-paying jobs, leaving them without enough staff to deal with the surge.

“In two weeks we've doubled the number of COVID patients in our hospital and we thought we have to sound the alarm now because there are not enough nurses to take care of the patients,” he told ABC’s Brad Mielke on “Start Here.”

“That's called dangerous. It's extremely dangerous. When a patient comes to a hospital, they deserve a registered nurse to take care of them. If you have six to one ratio and they're all COVID patients and one starts to go bad, you spend the next two hours with that one patient. Those other five patients are totally ignored behind glass, behind isolation room. We can't even see them. It's dangerous.”...




verene, MSN

1,790 Posts

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

I'm in one of the states with lower case numbers, and my hospital doesn't currently have a single COVID patient. Our staffing numbers are abysmal - so many staff out due to illness, quarantine, injury, childcare etc. 

Staff from other disciplines (e.g. OT, social work, security) are already being pulled to help work the floor in aide roles. Nursing managers and directors are being pulled to work as floor RNs. We anticipate it to get worse, much worse over the coming weeks. We technically just entered "stage 1" of our emergency staffing plan, but anticipate to be in stage 2 within 1 week and are actively planning to enter stage 3.... patient care is already suffering and I fear the levels of staff burn out and attrition we will have in the coming months.  

I've been able to stay fairly positive through out much of this year, but it's getting increasingly difficult to stay optimistic and I really fear what the next few months will bring. 

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

We are there. We have double digit shortages in both ICU and Med-surg units. I am an acute care educator and will be mandated into staffing in the very near future. We were told today. To begin with it will be in a "helper" capacity. Given the numbers we are seeing, the tomfoolery of travel we saw over Thanksgiving and now Christmas coming up, I fully expect to be taking a patient load in the next few months. 

Depressed doesn't begin to cover it.

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,432 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.
35 minutes ago, Nurse SMS said:

We are there. We have double digit shortages in both ICU and Med-surg units.

Seeing that as well. Looks like I’ll be going back into staffing and call rotation due to the number of nurses out just in one surgical specialty that I have experience in. 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,794 Posts

Specializes in dialysis. Has 30 years experience.

Clinic dialysis is already seeing this in Indiana. We have plenty of places to run positive patients, not enough staff to run. This is causing patients to be wait listed in some cases (transportation availability), which is terrifying for me, as well as the patients

Specializes in ER/ICU. Has 16 years experience.

We've been out of ratio since last month. In the hospital where I'm working at, every department has this shortage of staff. In the ICU unit, it's 1:3 with most of the time, no Charge Nurse, RRT, or even CNA. And yes, I'm from California. It's terrible. Dangerous. Patient's didn't get the appropriate quality of care due to this shortage of nurses.

Emergent, RN

2 Articles; 4,111 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

I'm working in a rural hospital that, up until now has been spared. 

Now we have staff out on quarantine and a big increase in positives. Previously we were transferring all positives to the bigger hospitals, but now they are getting overwhelmed and we are admitting them.

We have minimal resources. This will be a long Winter. The rural hospitals are in trouble. I convinced our manager to get us nurses  educated on ventilator management, we only have RT during the day, and I think we are going to get overwhelmed soon.